Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Submitted
The last of The Dow Chemical Company property that is located along 106th Street will soon be purchased and developed and will transform the southeast corner of 106th Street and Zionsville Road.
Bob Harris, Zionsville native and one of two principals of Kite Harris Development, spoke with us about the plans for this property and how it might impact the existing business community in downtown Zionsville.
“We are in contract to purchase from Dow the remaining 25 acres,” Harris stated. “The plan is to develop the Dow property along with the remaining 11 lots that Paul [Kite] and I have as Rockland Development, LLC, are in the process of purchasing across the street in the Creekside Corporate Park. Paul and I will develop the remaining lots for corporate offices and/or headquarters, while on the other side of 106th Street, we will develop the Dow property for small offices and retail. It will look similar to what we have developed along South Main Street to the west where Bub’s Burgers is.”
The concept of this future development will be similar to the South Village with storefronts pushed up to the street. Harris explained that there would be a couple of out lots available on the ends of the development. The concept will have retail and restaurants along the main level with small offices on the top floors. The building will come to a “V” at the corner of 106th and Zionsville Road and will encompass the length of the property on both sides heading east along 106th and south towards the Village Station along Zionsville Road.
Harris said the area development will be “very walkable” and will connect into the existing trail system. Bicyclists will be encouraged to ride and will have bike stations to park their bikes within the development. While he emphasized they want to bring in local businesses and restaurants, Harris stated they are just now starting those conversations in regards to who and what to bring into the development.
“We will be looking for local businesses,” he said. “The space of the unit will be dictated by the user. We have 15 acres of buildable ground, so there is plenty of room for whatever anybody wants to do. We will have access points off of Dahlia Drive in lieu of trying to make a bunch of new cuts on 106th Street. The improvements to Zionsville Road are going to start next year, so our goal is to get our project buildout, hopefully, simultaneously. That would be the ideal situation.”
Harris stressed that it is not his intent to hurt businesses in the Village core or drag business from downtown Zionsville but to complement it and bring in more of what people want.
“What we are seeing is a dense daytime population in the office park that needs amenities. When you have 600,000-800,000 square feet of office space in Zionsville, you need to have places for these people to have lunch or dinner after work. We are not only building shops and restaurants; we are bringing in the customers. My family owns nine buildings in the Village of Zionsville. I have no interest in hurting the businesses that are already located there. What I want is more people coming into Zionsville who are looking to shop, dine and live here because we have the amenities that draw them in. They won’t have
to go anywhere else for the things that they need and want.”
Harris was quick to remind us that only five years ago, one could drive into downtown Zionsville at 8 p.m., and it would be relatively quiet along the streets, but nowadays, you can’t drive into town on a Friday night without seeing people hopping from one establishment to another that has opened there.
“We want the connectivity of working together as a town and with the council and the mayor’s office,” Harris said. “We want to bring people in and want to keep their money here in Zionsville. I want people coming in from the surrounding areas, such as West Carmel, to bring their money here too.”
Harris provided a brief update on the project that Kite Harris Development has north of town at the intersection of U.S. 421 and County Road 300 South. In previous discussions, the plan was to have an anchor grocery store, such as Kroger, built at that location. With Kroger’s recent acquisitions of the two local former Marsh locations, did those eliminate Kroger from the planning board?
“Right now, we’re just waiting to see what will happen. Yes, we’re still working with Kroger, and that conversation is not off the table. Conversations with their corporate office are still ongoing, and we remain on very good terms with one another.”