Tag Archives: Density

Kokomo Construction Roundup: June 2012

Downtown Kokomo

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Outreach Building

Library Outreach Building (Ross Pierce 6/21/12)

This project has moved along pretty quickly and it seems as though the building exterior is finished as of June 19th, 2012, and only site improvements and construction internally is left for the building. The structure, at the southeast corner of Mulberry and Market Streets, was designed to house the bookmobile vehicles as well as the outreach and collection departments.

Senior Housing Development

Project Sign on Site (5/13/12)

As of the last downtown update, the site was cleared and is ready for the next stage of construction. The 54-unit, $9 million project won a $900,000 tax break earlier this year in March. No set construction start date has been publicized.

Close-up of the rendering on the project sign (Ross Pierce 5/13/12)

PNC Bank Building Facade Improvements

PNC Bank Before (Google Street View)

PNC Bank After (6/21/12)

The PNC Bank Building (northwest corner of Buckeye & Mulberry) Facade renovation is complete and looks quite familiar. There wasn’t much change to the building, just a little bit of updating. Unfortunately, they removed the metal grating that was over the entrance and mixed styles making the building look as if it has dual personalities of a typical Midwestern elementary school (the coordination of the brick and the 1950’s era windows) and an Italian-inspired seaside villa (The Roman arches and columns over the entrance). It does looks clean and updated, but in my opinion it is a toss-up as to whether the improvements are a welcomed change.

Jackson Street Commons

This project is set to break ground on June 28, 2012, and will provide 27 units for homeless veterans. The site is near the intersection of Jackson Street and Market on the northeast corner of downtown Kokomo. The rendering of the project looks promising, although the break in pattern of the windows between the first and upper floors makes me wonder why the developer didn’t continue the window pattern. Given the illustration I’m assuming that the inside of the building was designed then later they turned to design the outside the building, when both the inside and outside should be designed simultaneously. Overall, I’m interested in this new development. The density is exactly what downtown Kokomo needs, and this project is on a site which previously was mostly underdeveloped.

Jackson Street Commons Rendering (Image from Family Service Association of Howard County)

Around Town

Industrial Heritage Trail

This summer, the city extended the trail nearly an additional mile south and improved many of the roadway/trail intersections with new curbs and other traffic calming methods. By the end of the construction season this year, the Industrial Heritage Trail should travel under the US31 bridge over the Kokomo Creek and end near the Hampton Inn & Suites on the southeast side of US31.

New Mural along the Industrial Heritage Trail (Ross Pierce 6/21/12)

Walk of Excellence

On the edge of downtown in Foster Park, the Washington Street Pedestrian & Bike Underpass was reconstructed with more gradual slopes, wider walkways, a new sitting/outlook area with the plan to add new landscaping and paint on the Washington Street Bridge. Also within Foster Park, landscaped medians were built in-between the trail and the access drive, making a better separation between trail users and vehicles.

Washington Street Pedestrian & Bike Underpass (Ross Pierce 6/21/12)

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Kokomo Construction Roundup: March 2012

It was a beautiful day yesterday and after work I decided to go on a long bike ride. On that ride, I decided to go take a look at how some of the known construction projects downtown are developing. For the first time in what seems like my whole entire life, Kokomo has many different projects going on downtown at the same time. Here are three of the projects that have visible changes as of 3/6/12. As the construction season begins, this list will grow to include some of the other downtown development news.

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Outreach Building

My first stop was the Outreach Building for the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library. To my surprise, the building is coming along quite quickly. You can see that as of yesterday the building’s supports are in place and the shear mass of a building is starting to take shape. From the elevation images and the articles that I’ve come across, the building won’t be a design icon in the downtown district. Although it won’t be the most beautiful building, it does provide density to a block where a parking lot previously sat.  It does provide a good street wall to both Market and Mulberry Streets, which helps enclose the street and promotes walkability. One of the MAJOR design flaws is how close the building is to the neighboring structures and doesn’t fit in well with the previously existing urban fabric in that area. The building’s orientation is exactly how I would have designed it, but I would have had more visible facade changes to mimic the existing look and feel of the surrounding structures. This is just a cookie cutter building that doesn’t provide much value and similar if not exact replicas of this structure could be found in an infinite number of communities in the world.

More on the Library Outreach Building is here in a Kokomo Tribune article.

Senior Housing Development

The Senior Housing development that I’ve previously highlighted on this blog, got some great news recently that will help get this project rolling. According to the most recent Kokomo Perspective and Kokomo Tribune newspapers, the St. Mary Development Corp. received a federal rental housing tax credit of $900,429 in addition to a $250,000 loan both from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Within the past couple weeks, the site has been cleared and the old Hoosier Wholesale building was demolished. Site prep is ongoing and construction should begin on the $9 million project this July with a completion date in 2013.

PNC Bank Facade Improvement

Another urban design improvement downtown is the facade improvement of the PNC bank at the corner of Mulberry and Buckeye Streets. This one has a bit of mystery behind it as I have no idea how the end result will turn out. If a certain development firm is in control of it, I’m sure it will end badly, disastrous, ugly or  tasteless. I’ll get more into that in a blog entry at a later date… As for right now all we have is the facade with orange fencing near the base awaiting for construction.

Not exactly a “downtown” project but I am most certainly excited for the extension of the Industrial Heritage Trail: The current southern terminus (Boulevard) pictured below facing south to the potential future IHT extension.

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UPDATE: Sycamore Commons Convenience Store proposed for “Manetoowa” Parcel

"Manetoowa" sitting in front of the proposed site (Image: http://www.waymarking.com)

According to a article in the Kokomo Tribune on 12/20/11, Fortune Management is proposing to build a convenience store on the lot where the Indian Maiden statue is currently located. The development could provide everyday necessities that would normally not be within walking distance for people living east of downtown. The project is also located at an important automobile and bicycling route within downtown Kokomo, which “ups the stakes,” creating certain expectations on a currently empty site. Continue reading

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60-Unit IUK Student Housing Complex Approaches Next Hurdle

Potential style of what student housing across from IUK (Image: Kokomo Perspective)

Mecca Companies of South Bend wishes to build a 60-unit student housing complex across the street from Indiana University Kokomo. The project is up for approval with the zoning board for a special exemption and setback variances. If the project moves forward, this would improve IUK’s desireability for prospective freshmen as well as improving the quality of life for current IUK students, which could mean added future development and economic stimulation.

The owner, Annex of Kokomo LLC is asking for variances for setbacks for the front and the rear, a driveway separation variance and a buffer variance on the south and west sides of the property. If the project clears the zoning board hurdle the proposed $7 million 60-unit housing complex could be completed as early as August 2012. Continue reading

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I had a dream, a dream where a Subway was in downtown Kokomo

The other night I had the strangest dream where I was doing something in downtown Kokomo and I was riding my bike by a Subway restaurant and in my dream I thought, “Wait a minute, this is a dream. A downtown Subway would be crazy.” As everyone knows, dreams are strange and oftentimes we don’t remember many of the details. Of that dream, I only remember the “strange” detail about the Subway downtown. When I woke up the next morning, I remembered my dream and how extremely ordinary and doable the who dream was.

Funny thing is, I don’t particularly love Subway, I think I view it as a potential starting off point to getting more eating options in the center of the city. Currently, Subway has more stores than McDonalds in the United States. According to ezlocal.com, there are 23,000 Subway locations, while McDonalds has around 14,000 stores as of June 2010. Subway has a history of locations in small and big downtowns alike, renovating existing buildings or building new buildings with decent urban design.

Here is an image of a new-build Subway restaurant in downtown Muncie.

Downtown Muncie Subway (Image: Google Street View 9/6/11)

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Senior Citizen Housing development coming to downtown Kokomo

Yesterday in the Kokomo Perspective a new development downtown was revealed on a currently dilapidated parcel near the Railroad Station district of downtown Kokomo. The project includes 50-70 units in a 3-4 story building located at the intersection of Washington and Taylor Streets across the road from the Masonic Temple. The project was mentioned here in the Kokomo Tribune.

Senior Housing Site Plan (Image: Redrawn by Ross Pierce 8/8/11)

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Picture Post: Water Tower Place – Existing Site Photographs

I got a chance yesterday and I traveled north to the site which could be a location for an affordable housing community. Below are some images of the existing area where the affordable housing units are planned to be located on a vacant lot previously used by the Kingston Factory. Details on the project were previously listed on this website here: Water Tower Place

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Renovation of KHCPL by krM Architects

Library Before Renovation

Before I started Kokomotive, I wrote a short article about the proposed (at the time) renovation of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Main Branch. Originally, the library board was intending to build a new structure downtown in coordination with a new YMCA building as a bold attempt for downtown revitalization. If you live in Kokomo, you are probably aware that the library had many factors that resulted in the decision to renovate the current library building instead. I’ve had been following the plans for a newly constructed library downtown up until the final product and originally was disappointed to hear that they were planning on only renovating the existing library. I then found some images the architects created of a completely different exterior that are shown below, which gave me high hopes for the library project. Continue reading

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Rising Fuel Costs =/= Rising Fuel Economy

As I sat in the library doing research, I couldn’t help but overhear other people talking about the newest sport car and its features. Specifically, they were talking about high performance vehicles that could go up to 230 mph, which brought to light an issue that I seldom think of on a day-to-day basis. When it comes to the automobile industry, why are we so obsessed with cars that can go 2-3 times the maximum speed limit? Most interstate highways rarely get any higher than 70 mph. In the past, we’ve seem to rarely care about how efficient the engine can be or how good of gas mileage we can achieve instead we care about how visually striking or how fast the vehicle can drive. I would like to say that we don’t have that problem today, but as I sit in a building full of future design professionals, I overhear and see a lot of students who do not practice what a lot of our professors preach. Many students I’ve come in contact look forward to buying cars that “drive real fast” or giant trucks that get 10 mpg.

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$8.5 million affordable housing project moves forward

Water Tower Place Site Location

Today’s newspaper announced that the $8.5 million Water Tower Place at Kingston Square project is one step closer to becoming a reality. The development is located on the vacant Kingston Factory site on north Webster Street. The housing project is estimated to include 50-60 affordable units on a tract of land just under 4 acres and will replace a large blighted property in the target area of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The developer of the project is Mecca Companies, Inc. of Michigan City, which the city has worked with on a Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the same target area. The same company is also noted for the recently proposed housing development near IUK geared toward college-aged students. With the approval of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and the NSP the project begins to move forward. Continue reading

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