Three Models for Indy’s Hot Neighborhoods

These enclaves aren’t growing as fast as they were five years ago, but they have design concepts and communities to aspire to, nonetheless.

Carmel Arts & Design District
The unfortunate J. Seward Johnson sculptures aside, Hamilton County’s signature neighborhood accomplished what few thought possible—bringing culture to Carmel. Developed in 2003, the Arts & Design District quickly filled with high-end galleries like Evan Lurie’s and anchors like the Indiana Design Center. And where there’s cultural traffic, there are diners and residents. Bub’s Burgers and Bazbeaux pizza thrived, and new townhomes provided a fashionable haven for artsy tenants.

Neighborhood that should take note: Carmel’s Midtown. The suburb recently pitched a $150 million project to redevelop a strip of land connecting the City Center and the Arts & Design District with a public plaza, condos, offices, and retail space.


When Greg Hardesty opened Recess at 49th Street and College Avenue in 2010, some scratched their heads at the choice of location. But where many saw urban decline, Hardesty saw a diamond in the rough, and a new wave of SoBro eateries, bars, and shops followed. Today, Twenty Tap, Luna Music, and the Sinking Ship peaceably coexist with mainstays like the Aristocrat and the Red Key Tavern. Affluent soccer moms gravitate to Taste and Fresh Market, while up-and-coming entrepreneurs share space—and ideas—at The Speak Easy.

Neighborhood that should take note: Bates-Hendricks. New businesses like General American Donut Company are moving near this bohemian haunt next to Fountain Square, but the place needs more restaurants and nightlife to make it destination-worthy.


Cottage Home
A strong sense of community pervades this little downtown neighborhood populated with charming 1800s Victorians. A handful of new homes and live/work facilities are taking shape under the direction of the East 10th Street Civic Association, Stenz Construction, and Indy Mod Homes, but Cottage Home flourishes mostly thanks to the efforts of an enthusiastic neighborhood association. Community celebrations, a popular biannual home-and-garden tour, community gardens, and hyper-local businesses like Dorman Street Saloon are just a few of the pleasant distractions that keep residents nearby when they’re recreating. But let’s face it: Cottage Home’s proximity to Mass Ave played a big role in its success.

Neighborhood that should take note: Windsor Park. Just north of Cottage Home, this neighborhood echoes its formula for success with green spaces and an active association that’s striving to get neighbors involved.