CROWN POINT — Before moving in near Indiana Avenue, Plan Commission members are asking developers to follow a high standard of design to set a precedent for the area.
During a recent meeting, commissioners discussed a potential office/warehouse development at 800 Porter St., which is located one lot off Indiana Avenue.
The development also was discussed during the commission’s April meeting, and later deferred, to give developer Tim Heidbreder time to consider suggestions made by plan commissioners to enhance the aesthetics of the building.
Heidbreder again presented the project to plan commissioners, however, the development was found to be inconsistent with the comprehensive design for the area, said Planning Administrator Anthony Schlueter.
"All the design guidelines that we have throughout the city do require compatibility of the development of materials within surrounding land uses that's throughout the city and ... all the development will provide a consistent quality of architectural design that maintains and improves the image of the corridor,” Schlueter said, adding it was the city’s position that the proposed building did not meet those guidelines.
The revised plan for the building included cedar siding added to the front facade.
Originally, Heidbreder proposed a 9,600-square-foot building with a black metal roof and white exterior with the lower four feet of the building to feature a combination of gray, silver and charcoal stone. Black metal awnings also were planned above walk-in doors on the south and west sides of the building.
Heidbreder told commissioners there wasn’t another building as nice as the proposed office/warehouse space in the area. During the April meeting, he said the building was a "Taj Mahal" compared to anything in the area.
“Everything over there is old, and it’s not going to be replaced,” he said. “If you go 1,000 foot where is there something that’s near as nice as this?”
Plan Commissioner Laura Sauerman said the commission is looking for a transition building in the area that will allow the city to go from the look of Indiana Street Storage to the aesthetic of Shaw Polymers.
"I am not sure that an FBI building that is mostly metal, and the cupolas are nice, but mostly it's rather plain,” Sauerman said. “I don't know that that is going to make whoever builds on Indiana jump into a really higher materials that are appointed to building.”
Sauerman added the commission isn't just considering the present when looking at this development, rather the next 20-30 years.
"We only get one shot at this current generation, and we want it to be right," she said.
Vice Chairman Dan Rohaley said the area has been cleaned up quite a bit, and the commission wants a high standard set for the area.
"If your building is not the premier one on the block, all we're going to have is a lot of other buildings that don't look quite as good because everybody's gonna point to yours and say, 'Well you let him do it,'" Rohaley said. "So the precedent will be set and that's why we're so very concerned with this building, the attractiveness of this building."
Ultimately, the commission denied the office/warehouse space 4-3, with Chad Jeffries, Scott Evorik and Rich Day voting in favor of the development.