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DELV Design Creating Mixed-Use Broad Ripple Venue Called ‘Monon Yard’

by: Jack Quigley
John Pantzer, Local Entrepreneur and Owner of CCA Sports, is working with DELV Design to develop a mixed-use venue in Broad Ripple that will bring together community members of all ages. Monon Yard will pair outdoor dining with recreation to transform a site that previously hosted Broad Ripple Steakhouse and Ripple Inn on Westfield Boulevard.

Unlike several of Broad Ripple’s most popular bars and food establishments, Monon Yard is intentionally designed to engage locals of any age group. A spacious outdoor courtyard area surrounded by food and beverage vendors will allow Monon Yard to host to a wide variety of functions, including recreational sports tournaments, concerts, and large group gatherings.

Targeting a New Crowd
Pantzer bought the site eight years ago with the intention of redeveloping the area into an exciting, multi-use venue that matches Broad Ripple’s eclectic energy.

Popular Broad Ripple spots like Kilroy’s and Brothers are targeted towards 21-years-or-older adults, making it difficult for young adults or families to enjoy Broad Ripple’s energetic atmosphere. DELV Architect Sam Vonderau said by incorporating elements like a coffee bar, hot chocolate stand, and an outdoor area for recreational sports tournaments, Monon Yard is intentionally designed to attract a different crowd than surrounding venues.

“One of the driving ideas of the courtyard concept was to keep the center space very open to accommodate all those activities,” Vonderau said. “I think people are going to be very drawn to outdoor gathering when we can get back together, and this will be kind of an active, safe space for all ages to enjoy.”

Shipping Containers and Flexible Layouts
DELV reviewed case studies about the Monon Yard site and researched similar activation initiatives across the country to determine best design practices for this outdoor development. Monon Yard will incorporate certain elements which have proven successful in similar outdoor activation projects, such as inclusive branding, flexible event spaces, and shipping containers.

By using shipping containers as the main structural element of the site, Monon Yard brings together a variety of attractions in a way that stands out amongst surrounding venues while simultaneously matching Broad Ripple’s unique energy.

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“Broad Ripple is kind of a funky, eclectic place that’s rooted in the arts and community, and I think this is one way to engage that vibe,” Vonderau said. “Since the number one goal for this project is to activate site, containers are the most economical way to do that while providing space for the diversity of programs that we’re trying to attract.”

Shipping containers allow more risk in developing food concepts because vendors do not need to buy a food truck or sign a brick-and-mortar lease to operate in the space. Containers’ interiors will be fit out with commercial kitchen equipment and finishes, while all seating will be outdoor on top of the containers or in the courtyard.

“Any successful space has a mix of seating types to give you choice, so we’ll do the same here,” Vonderau said.

Monon Yard will have covered and uncovered deck seating on top of containers and shaded by umbrellas and other shade structures, as well as a stage inside one of the second-floor containers that can host concerts with lawn-type seating in the courtyard.

“There is a pretty significant number of outdoor functions that we’re planning to have flexibility for,” Vonderau said.

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When larger gatherings are permitted again, Vonderau said Monon Yard might set up party tents in the courtyard during events like Octoberfest and St. Patrick’s Day.

Working with the Site
Monon Yard differs from similar outdoor activation projects across the country in that Indiana’s climate is not conducive to a year-round, open-air development, so Vonderau said DELV is thinking of ways by which their design can help Monon Yard sustain success during colder months. One element Vonderau mentioned as a possible solution to the weather problem is a “warming hut” placed inside one of the containers that would give patrons a spot to warm up in the winter.

As someone who lives just south of Broad Ripple, Vonderau said it was important to him and other DELV designers that this property fit naturally within the urban fabric of Broad Ripple. DELV is carefully considering the proportions and scale of the building to ensure Monon Yard relates to its surrounding properties and ties into the Monon Trail. An existing bungalow on the south end of the site will be fully remodeled into a standalone food provider that will have restroom facilities for the whole development. Vonderau said the bungalow is disheveled and currently falling apart, so the decision to keep the building and incorporate it into this project is an investment in unifying Monon Yard with its surroundings

“We think the bungalow is a really important part of completing the courtyard feel and incorporating part of the existing fabric of Broad Ripple into this new site,” Vonderau said.

Because shipping containers can carry a somewhat hard aesthetic, Vonderau the integration of landscape and plant life throughout the facility will be a crucial design element for the project. Natural materials like wood will bring some warmth into the development, as will an assortment of permanent and movable plants.

Vonderau said, “We recognize that there are some challenges with this project, but I think there is such a need for a space like this in Broad Ripple and in the city to cater towards families.”

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