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$80M Keystone Crossing project gets first city look

Keystone at the Crossing will look a lot different in the coming years, if PK Partners can pull off its plans for an $80 million development along River Crossing Blvd. near The Fashion Mall.

PK Partners was set to make its case to the city Thursday morning by asking the Metropolitan Development Commission's hearing examiner to rezone the land to give the developer more flexibility.  The full MDC is scheduled to hear the request March 19th.

IBJ reported in its Feb. 10th issue that PK Partners' plans call for 100,000 square feet of office space and 200 apartments with an attached parking garage and lakefront views on roughly 10 acres on the east side of River Crossing Blvd, north of the Shoppes at River Crossing.  Across the boulevard, on 4.5 acres, the company plans to construct a 125-room hotel, and eventually could add 50,000 square feet of office and retail space, and possibly more apartments.

The developer plans to create a pedestrian-friendly project by incorporating a one-mile walking trail that loops the 25-acre lake into the development.  On-street parking and sidewalks would be integrated into the design. 

The building that houses Champps Americana restaurant, which PK Partners owns, is included in the plans and could be redeveloped as part of the overall project.

PK Partners hopes to start construction on the first phase yet this year.  The entire project could take 3-7 years to complete.

One a much smaller scale, but just south, PK Partners is developing a stand-alone restaurant for the Columbus, Ohio-based Piada Italian Street Food chain in the southwest corner of Barnes & Noble's parking lot.  Construction started this month with an expected summer opening. 

The location would be Piada's second in the metro area.  The other is at 380 S. Rangeline Rd. in Carmel.  Overall, the chain has 18 restaurants, 16 of which are in Ohio.  Besides the Carmel location, the other location is in Troy, MI.

The fast-casual Italian eatery features hand-rolled Italian flatbread sandwiches known as piadas, pasta bowls, and chopped salads.  Piada was founded in 2010 by Chris Doody, also a founder of Bravo! restaurants. 

Top 5 home design trends of 2014

1.) The open concept continues to grow

Perhaps the most fundamental design shift in the past 25 years has been the open concept kitchen.  Previously, kitchens were one isolated room, typically in the back of the house.  This made entertaining next to impossible without already having all the prep work and cooking completed before your guests arrived.  Consequently, with the open concept idea, appliance designers are taking the next step by creating appliances that can seamlessly blend into the kitchen, which can them blend seamlessly into the family room.  Using different concepts such as the microwave drawer, Americans are trying to hide the most obvious parts of the kitchen.  

2.)  Neutral colors beat bright colors

Sandy and grey tones are very popular in the home.  Bold colors will now pop up in the form of light fixtures, throw pillows, or backsplashes.  There's also a trend towards subtle glamour- neutral palettes with dazzling details. 

3.)  Universal design makes its way into every room of the house

Universal design, a concept in which a space is designed with the aging users in mind, has been around since the 1960's, but has only recently taken off.  Americans want to know the home they already have can accomodate them as they age, instead of moving multiple times.  The design elements for this concept range from first floor master bedrooms, to substituting levers for knobs on doors.  Appliance drawers, such as dishwashers, microwaves, and ovens are becoming increasingly popular as well.  

4.)  Goodbye granite, hello quartz

As far as kitchen and bathroom countertops go, factory-engineered quartz is the new granite.  Quartz has the same look and feel as granite, but it's more practical.  Quartz is more durable, so it better resists cracking and chipping, and it is non-porous so it's easier to clean and resists staining.  

5.)  Enery efficient and water-saving appliances become standard

While the green trend may not be as hot as it was a few years ago, homeowners are still opting for new appliances where the energy and financial savings are readily apparent.  Touchless faucets have skyrocketed in popularity.  Homeowners have also abandoned big master tubs that are costly to fill for high-efficiency shower heads, toilets, and dishwashers.  

7 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

firsthome

Spring is just around the corner, and a great time to purchase a new home!  With interest rates still low, this is a perfect time to make your dream come true of owning your first home.  Here are some helpful tips for first time buyers. 

1)  Look at your budget a determine how a house fits into it.  It's recommended that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs.  If you go past 30%, you risk becoming house poor.

2)  Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your area.  Web sites such as Zillow and Homegain can give you a general idea, but a real estate professional can pull a more detailed analysis from the BLC system.

3)  Find out how much you'll likely pay in closing costs.  The upfront cost of settling on your home shouldn't be overlooked.  Closing costs include originination fees from the lender, title & settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowner's insurance or HOA dues. 

4)  See what you can afford.  Use Bankrate's mortgage calculator to see what your payment would be, or talk with a trusted mortgage lender. 

5)  Talk to a repubtable real estate professional in your area about the real estate climate.  Do they believe prices will fall or rise in your area in the near future?

6)  Find out what your total monthly housing cost would be, including taxes and homeowner's insurance.  In some areas, what you'll pay for your taxes and insurance escrow can almost double your mortgage payment.  To get an idea of what you'll pay in insurance, pick a property in the area where you want to live and make a call to a local insurance agent for an estimate.  You won't be obligated to get the insurance, but you'll have a good idea of what you'll pay if you buy.

7)  Remember to look at the big picture.  While buying a house is a great way to build wealth, maintaining your investment can be labor-intensive and expensive.  When unexpected costs for new appliances, roof repairs, and plumbing problems crop up, there's no landlord to turn to, and these costs could potentially drain your bank account. 

Homebuilders enjoy best year since 2007

The central Indiana home-construction industry finished 2013 with a strong December, helping it post its best year since 2007. 

Homebuilders filed 333 single-family building permits in the nine-county metro area in December, a 21% increase over the same month of 2012, the Builder's Association of Greater Indianapolis reported.

December's results pushed the total to 4,959 permits for all of 2013, a 19% increase over 2012.  It was the highest annual total for central Indiana since 2007, when 7,326 permits were filed.

December's increase ended a two month decline in permit filings.  Numbers were down slightly in October and November following a streak of 15 straight months of year-over-year increases.

Hamilton county remained the area's busiest for home starts in 2013, with 1,899 during the year, a 12% rise over 2012.  Permits were up 16% in Marion county in 2013, to 731.

Annual filings were up 15% in Hendricks county, 26% in Johnson county, 37% in Boone county, and 35% in Hancock county. 

Cold Weather Tips

We hope you're all staying safe and warm during this weather.  Here are some tips for also keeping your home safe and sound during the freezing temps. 

1.)  Keep all cabinet doors under sinks open to let heat circulate.  Let faucets drip slowly especially at night to help prevent freezing pipes.

2.)  Try these 4 tips if you're not getting heat before you call a professional

     -- Check the air filter.  They can clog up in only two weeks.

     -- If the filter was bad and the furnace tried 4x to relight, some units have a circuit board that locks them out, even if you change the filter.  You can go to the circuit board and shut off the power for a couple of seconds then turn it back on.  This should override the default.

     -- Check the battery in your home's thermostat.  They can lose power in the active winter season.

     -- Check the circuit breakers.  Extreme cold can set the stage for power surges. 

3.)  Be sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms.  This is the time of year when you want to be sure those sensors are working.

4.)  Tape trash bags over drafty windows to keep heat in.

5.)  Close doors to rooms that are not used, as long as there is not water in them.

6.)  Block off unused fireplaces, because they can suck the heat out.

7.)  When using a space heater be sure to keep anything flammable at least three feet away, such as clothing, bedding, paper or rugs. Also, be sure to turn off and unplug space heaters before leaving the room or going to bed.

8.)  Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.

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