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Resident expanding to Greencastle

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

GREENCASTLE -- Confident in Greencastle, a rebounding economy and his own business savvy, Brazil developer Brad Emmert detailed plans for a 94-unit apartment project on the city's south side Monday.

Representing the Clay County-based Emmert Group LLC, he appeared before the City Plan Commission and earned a favorable recommendation for the rezoning of 7.66 acres along the south side of Veterans Memorial Highway, just west of the four-way stopsign.

The triangle-shaped area, located east of the proposed site of the new Carpenter Real Estate office (at the corner of Tennessee Street and Veterans Highway), would have seven apartment buildings and a management office as presently configured.

Emmert said he has been active in Greencastle projects since 2007, and owns the USDA building and the office housing the Department of Children Services on Ridgeland Road.

He called the development "about a $5 million project," noting that his firm would be paying $100,000 or more a year in taxes on the property as well.

Emmert has several units in Brazil with some 40 more under construction in Clay County.

Occupancy is 100 percent there, and "people are begging to get in," to the new units, he told the Plan Commission.

"I really believe the Greencastle market will be better than our Brazil market," he said, indicating the apartments are all "market rate units."

In other words, he is not a low-income housing provider and accepts no federal subsidies for his rentals.

"We build them. We own them. We rent them," he said, characterizing the apartments as designed for young professionals, public school faculty, professors and even students.

The units typically carry a rental figure of $750-$800 a month.

The Plan Commission, acting on a motion by Bill Hamm and a recommendation from City Planner Shannon Norman, voted unanimously to rezone the property from Professional Business (PB) to Mixed Density Dwelling (XD).

The project preliminaries, however, are far from finished.

Next, the rezoning request will go before the Greencastle City Council for approval (two required readings).

Since the site will have multiple structures, it will also require a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals, Norman said, adding that a final appearance before the city's Tech Review Committee will also probably be necessary.

Emmert expects to take a year to build the entire apartment complex project, likely completing it in a single phase.

"The conservative in me would like to do it in two phases," he said, acknowledging however that economies on scale and bankers' conventional wisdom would appear to dictate otherwise.

Emmert expects Joe Spiker Excavating and Construction, Greencastle, to handle a big part of the building project, and said other local contractors will have the chance to submit bids as subcontractors.

"We want it to be nice, nice, nice," Emmert told the Plan Commission. "We want to be good neighbors and have this be a nice neighborhood project."



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