MERRILLVILLE — A new 275-unit apartment complex proposed for development in Merrillville represents a $30 million to $40 million investment in the community.
The four-building development Saxon Partners is proposing for the 9000 block of Connecticut Street would bring construction jobs and permanent employment to the area, said Town Councilman Shawn Pettit, president of the Plan Commission.
The facility is expected to cater to young professionals, and Pettit thinks it would be well-received by them.
“There’s a need for this project,” Pettit said.
Although Pettit has been supportive of the development, he’s also made it clear that the perception of residents from the nearby Broadfield subdivision will be a large factor when decisions are made about advancing the project.
Drainage has been a major concern for Broadfield residents because of the significant flooding that neighborhood sustained several years ago.
Those worries appeared to be alleviated for many residents following a more-than-hour-long discussion about the project during a recent Plan Commission workshop.
Jeff Brant, who owns a drainage pond that serves the Broadfield community and the site of the proposed apartment complex, has committed to expanding the pond to add 3 million gallons of stormwater storage.
Those plans were examined by a review team that consisted of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Robinson Engineering and Matt Lake, executive director of Merrillville’s Stormwater Utility.
They are confident the pond expansion will provide the necessary storage to serve that area and more flood protection than what residents have now.
The stormwater system was analyzed in great detail. Lake said the review team wouldn’t have authorized it if they thought it would create problems in Broadfield.
“We’re committed to the residents,” Lake said, “The safety and welfare of the residents.”
Although they are confident the pond expansion will provide necessary stormwater storage, officials won’t guarantee flooding couldn’t happen in that area.
“I’ll never say we can out-engineer Mother Nature,” said Thomas Burke, of Christopher B. Burke Engineering.
The Plan Commission and Town Council would need to approve a planned unit development request Saxon Partners is seeking before construction for the apartment complex could start.
The commission could make its decision Tuesday. It would then move to the council for final action.
The development will have one-bedroom and studio units, said Gary Warfel, director of multifamily development at Saxon Partners.
Warfel said the apartments could be enticing to young professionals, especially those in the healthcare industry. The complex is in an ideal location to cater to medical personnel because Broadway continues to emerge as a health care corridor, Warfel said.
Those working in nearby medical facilities could walk or bike to work, he said.
The apartment complex also will include walking paths through a natural area. In addition to apartment residents, the paths could be used by those in Broadfield.
Warfel said Saxon is exploring adding some covered parking for apartment residents and using solar canopies for those structures.
Construction for the apartments could begin in the fall, and it could take about one year before units are open for occupancy.