Next development area?

When a Center Grove area man bought 10 acres along State Road 135 in 1970, the quiet, less congested surroundings are what attracted him.

John Zimmerman loved the area in Greenwood so much, he and his wife built a home on the land south of Demaree Road in 1984.

Back then, El Dorado subdivision across the street wasn’t yet built. And traffic on State Road 135 was less congested as few motorists used what was then a two-lane road.

After the El Dorado subdivision went in, the next big development to arrive in the area was the Hearth at Stones Crossing, which was built in 2007. And just a few years after, Copper Chase at Stones Crossing apartment complex was built behind their home, Zimmerman said.

In the past 10 years, commercial development has begun working its way south of Smith Valley Road toward Stones Crossing Road, as restaurants, grocery stores, banks and small strip malls have methodically been built on property that was once the tranquil farmland that Zimmerman misses.

During the next decade, the area along State Road 135 from as far north as Demaree Road and as far south as Whiteland Road will drastically change as farmland becomes the next retail hub in Greenwood. Empty fields will be replaced with box retailers and grocery stores with small retail shopping centers attached and restaurants in the outlots. That type of development is just a portion of what the city of Greenwood envisions for the blossoming area.

Medical offices and commercial development such as retail and restaurants are the city’s hopes for the leg of State Road 135, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.

Now, as Zimmerman and his wife are looking for a smaller, easier-to-maintain home, the timing to sell their house and property couldn’t be better, Zimmerman said.

“It’s not that I don’t love it here — I probably won’t find anywhere else I like any better. But I like it a lot less now, and I figure in the long run it would be worth more, and it is. It’s worth considerably more than what we paid (in 1970).”

At the front of the Zimmerman’s driveway, a real estate agent’s sign sits where traffic can’t miss it. And it has a message in big bold letters: possible commercial.

The Zimmerman’s property is just one of about five properties for sale on the east side of State Road 135 between Demaree and Stones Crossing roads. And none of those properties are being marketed for anything other than commercial development.

Their neighbor hasn’t listed his home for sale, for now. After Zimmerman listed his 10 acres, his neighbor told real estate agent David Pfinder that he, too, would sell his property if a commercial developer were interested, Pfinder said.

“Everything down here is going commercial,” Pfinder said. “They’re all aware of that trend.”

Along State Road 135, development further south of the always busy commercial corridor between Smith Valley and County Line roads is inevitable, Carpenter Realtors commercial broker Brenda Richards said.

Richards is tying to sell less than one acre of land between Stones Crossing and Demaree roads. Her target market is medical or dental offices, or a law firm, and she believes the majority of what will fill in around her property is going to be the same type of commercial development that located between Smith Valley and County Line roads, Richards said.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Richards said. “Commercial developers are coming.”

Last year, the city of Greenwood approved a sixth tax-increment financing, or TIF, district that is focused solely around the potential development along that side of State Road 135. The TIF district stretches from Smith Valley to Whiteland roads.

As the development unfolds in the area, the city will collect property tax dollars during the next 25 years on those buildings and businesses that locate in the area. Those tax dollars will go towards infrastructure improvements to Stones Crossing and Honey Creek roads, for example. And that TIF money also will fund other projects such as the construction of a new fire station near Honey Creek Road.

Just north of the Zimmerman’s property, on the corner of Demaree Road and State Road 135, Jay Morris is trying to sell his property that sits right on the corner. Morris owns a small home on his property, but would like to sell the entire lot to a developer, Morris said.

The property, which is just less than one acre, is perfect for a small nail salon or massage parlor, Morris said. And there’s also the chance a big developer comes along and needs his property in coordination with the Zimmerman property as part of a bigger plan such as a large grocery store, Morris said.

“I think State Road 135, down here, will be a domino effect,” Morris said. “It’s prime for commercial. Look at 135 between Smith Valley and County Line Road — it’s quality development. I expect the same south of Smith Valley Road. Whoever comes along (first), that’s what will drive more development.”

The owners of a 51-acre lot at the corner of Stones Crossing Road and State Road 135 are searching for a developer to buy the land for a retail development. From there, continued commercial growth is very likely to fill in around the area and continue south along State Road 135, real estate agent Dan Nichols said.

Nichols, who works for Realty World Harbert Company, said more possible buyers have been calling recently about a five-acre property one of his clients listed almost seven years.

The 4.7 acres are next to the Center Grove Presbyterian Church, only several hundred yards from Zimmerman’s property. The space is perfect for small offices, retail or even a restaurant, Nichols said.

“The goal is to find someone who either wants to develop an office building or retail center,” Nichols said. “State Road 135 is becoming very much like highway 36 in Avon, with commercial development stretched out. It takes time, but I absolutely believe, in my lifetime, commercial development will span all the way to Bargersville.”

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2719.