Zionsville plans environmentally friendly corporate office park
From the very start, Creekside Corporate Park at Zionsville received a lot of attention for being an environmentally friendly corporate office park. Here’s an early article in the Indy Star Newspaper.
INDY STAR, Summer Ballentine, Aug. 10, 2014
Zionsville business leaders are planning what could be the first conservation corporate park of its scale in the area, and development officials say it could boost the economy and increase tax revenue.
Creekside Corporate Park will be more park and less corporate with no boxy buildings, and trees to shade the site at West 106th Street and Zionsville Road.
Commissioners envision employees walking down paths and taking a bridge over Eagle Creek to grab lunch in the downtown village area.
“It’s not just a big concrete pad with a bunch of buildings on it,” said Luke Phenicie, president of the Zionsville Economic Redevelopment Commission. “Hopefully, it will be a nice area for employees to get out, relax and walk downtown.”
Plans for the park center around low-impact development that is meant to leave alter the environment as little as possible.
Small rain gardens dug slightly below ground level take the place of retention ditches, and the urban designers worked around the natural hills and valleys of the area. The pavement will be porous to allow rainwater to drain into the ground.
About a third of the 90-acre site is set to be preserved for green space and passive recreation, Phenicie said.
Commissioners requested the greener setting to attract corporations looking to get away from a traditional industrial complex.
The park still is in its infancy. So far, Hat World’s corporate headquarters is the only building in the area. Phenicie said the commission intends to offer incentives, such as lower-than-normal prices on land, to attract businesses.
Businesses, town officials say, are needed. More than 90 percent of the town’s tax base is residential, which is capped at 1 percent.
Tax caps are at 3 percent for businesses and other property, so additional businesses would mean more money for schools, police and other local amenities.
Hailing the corporate park as one of the most progressive and environmentally friendly in the metro area could give Zionsville the edge it needs to attract high-tech and other companies, said Jerry Conover, director of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
Employees, especially younger workers, want more from their workplace, said Kevin Osburn, the principal at Rundell Ernstberger Associates who conceptualized Creekside’s design.
He said corporations competing for young talent value walkable paths and green space. Trails, like the winding paths that could snake through Creekside, encourage healthier lifestyles and cut down on pollution from driving.
In a traditional corporate campus, Osburn said, “You drive your car, park in a vast parking lot, and drive somewhere else to get lunch. It’s disconnected.” An environmentally friendly corporate office park like Creekside will make the difference.
Although low-impact development techniques have been in use for years, Osburn said few corporate parks in the area use them on the scale Zionsville is proposing. The Nature Conservancy’s Downtown Indianapolis headquarters off East Ohio Street is one example of a building with a similar approach.
“It’s not all that unusual, but it’s still far from the norm,” Conover said. “Many companies are going to put landscaping around to make it look nice, but it’s the parking lots and buildings that make a difference.”
Osburn’s firm also designed Noblesville’s Saxony Corporate Campus near I-69.
The campus includes sleek buildings surrounded by grassy medians and young trees. Osburn said the campus is beautiful, but it doesn’t have the natural landscape like Zionsville.
“I think what they’re trying to do at Creekside Corporate Park “is a step above and a step beyond,” Osburn said.
Creekside Corporate Park at Zionsville by the numbers:
Bridge: The concept plan for Creekside Corporate Park at Zionsville includes a pedestrian bridge over Eagle Creek.
Trails: More than one mile of trails will stretch through the complex and into the town’s park department trails north of the creek.
Space: Creekside could accommodate more than 540,00 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of restaurant or retail space.