Writer / Janelle Morrison
What do you get when you match stunningly beautiful real estate of historical significance with one of the areas most respected real estate
developers? The answer is Jackson’s Grant on Williams Creek, a new residential development located just north of 116th Street between Spring Mill Road and Clay Center Road in Carmel, Indiana.
History of Jackson’s Grant
The development’s name honors the property’s history. “The property was originally deeded in a land grant by President Andrew Jackson in 1834 to a family that held the property until the early 1900s when it was transferred to the family with which we are partnering in development of the property,” Larry Moon, COO Republic Development, said. “Hence, the name Jackson’s Grant.”
The land that has become Jackson’s Grant has a long and distinguished equestrian history. In addition to being an active horse farm, for many years it was the site where local equestrian families would convene on Thanksgiving Day to participate in an annual foxhunt. Jt. Master of the Foxhounds for Traders Point Hunt, Tom Santelli, shared his fond memory of the annual hunts. “The voice of the foxhounds, the call of the huntsman’s horn and the clip, clop of horses down the road, thundering across open pastures and through the woods, could be heard every Thanksgiving, following the toast of Irish Coffee before the traditional family Thanksgiving.” In paying homage to the property’s equestrian heritage, Republic Development has named some of the streets after the horses that lived on the property.
The Unique Physical Attributes
The property’s natural features that made the hunts there so challenging and appealing, with its hills, meandering streams and pockets of native hardwoods, also makes it a special piece of real estate for this unique residential community.
Jackson’s Grant on Williams Creek is comprised of 261 acres of pristine real estate bisected by Williams Creek. With the creek nearly centered in the property, it allowed the designers the opportunity to create a central common area along the creek allowing access to all homeowners. Jackson’s Grant on Williams Creek has over 100 acres of common area of which 60 plus acres lie within Williams Creek Nature Preserve and thirteen forested acres within the Flatwood Arboretum.
As Carmel has become more and more developed over the years, it has become impossible to find a development with this type of an uncompromised natural environment while offering such convenient access to downtown Carmel, downtown Indianapolis and major interstates.
Unique and World-Class in Design
In talking with Moon about Republic Development’s design process for Jackson’s Grant on Williams Creek, he said “We were given a great blank canvas to work with and we wanted to make sure that the development of the property and the use of the land were well-thought-out. “We wanted to bring in the some of the best designers in the country so we engaged LaQuatra Bonci, based in Pittsburgh.
They’ve been involved in a number of notable projects like the Biltmore in North Carolina and the Pittsburgh Waterfront Redevelopment. We thought that they would be a good fit to help us create our land plan.”
Republic Development also hired Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK), an architectural firm based in Memphis with a national reputation by being involved in mixed-use communities like the Disney community in Celebration, Florida. “We brought LRK in to develop the architectural standards to create a timeless community,” Moon stated. “The architecture was determined based on seven historical styles that are prominent in Central Indiana. Looney Ricks Kiss helped us create an architectural pattern book for Jackson’s Grant that directs the builders in proper design elements for each of the housing styles.”
In addition to the impressive array of national firms working on the design of Jackson’s Grant, some the finest local design talent has also been engaged. Gary Nance, a well-known local architect with a national reputation, will design the clubhouse and also be charged with the design to repurpose the iconic Hobby Horse Barn into the Hobby Horse Activity Center.
According to Nance, “The concept for the clubhouse was to design a timeless well- proportioned building that enhances the history of the property. It’s as if we renovated a structure from the past. Even though the clubhouse will have all of the typical amenities, the detailing is reminiscent of a hunting clubhouse. The renovated Hobby Horse Activity Center will have a very casual feel. Some of the horse stalls will be incorporated into casual seating areas. It’s set up where couples as well as small groups can gather and enjoy being in a true barn atmosphere.” Nance is imminently familiar with the history of the property because he has known the property’s prior owners since he was in grade school. Nance acknowledged that, “The history of the property plays a huge roll in respecting the design integrity of this project.”
Specifically, the main clubhouse will boast two stories, with a great view overlooking Williams Creek. The Grand Hall will be available for weddings and special events. There will be a card room, fitness facility, and a multi-purpose room. The outdoor spaces complimenting the amenity buildings, designed by Carmel based, Outdoor Environmental Group (OEG) includes three pools, a tennis court, basketball court and natural play area. “OEG is doing a lot of cutting edge outdoor landscape design and installation,” Moon explained.
Innovative Storm Water Management
New developments typically change much of the natural beauty and contours of the property as they excavate enormous amounts of soil to create retention ponds for storm water control. At Jackson’s Grant, locally based Williams Creek Consulting was engaged to design an innovative storm water management system employing low impact design concepts that will leave the area as undisturbed as possible. Instead of retention ponds, there are 61 strategically placed rain gardens; gently rolling fields where native landscaping collect, cleanse and slowly disperse storm water.
There are seven neighborhoods in the overall community that will incorporate the whole life sequence from larger family homes, to townhomes and smaller homes for young professionals and active adults. While it will create a diversified mix of residents, the Jackson’s Grant Community Recreation Center, the clubhouse, Hobby Horse Activity Center and centralized common areas with miles of walking trails are there to bring the residents together for a very social and cohesive community.
The Jackson’s Grant Builders
As we all know, the success of any development can be significantly affected by the quality of the homebuilders building in the community. When asked how they chose the builders for Jackson’s Grant, Moon said, “We were very careful in how we selected the builders for the different neighborhoods. We selected builders for based on who would adapt to the unique aspects of the architectural guidelines that are being set. The builders had to be flexible and willing to adapt to meet the quality and the unique standards that we thought were appropriate for Jackson’s Grant.” The lineup of builders have a great deal of experience in the Indianapolis area and building in communities with unique characteristics.