Friday, May 31, 2013

Whole Foods "Representative" at BRVA Meeting is Actually Local Real Estate Developer

A couple weeks ago I attended the Broad Ripple Village Association public meeting on the new development proposed to replace the closed Shell gas station on North College and some nearby older apartments.  The development includes the controversial Whole Foods store.

Bryan Chandler
Each person on the five person panel, all white males, were dressed exactly the same, i.e. an open collar dress shirt with a the exact same color dark blue jacket.  It was like they had called each other before the meeting to coordinate their wardrobes.  Most likely there is a study out there about neighborhood meetings that indicate an open collar and dark blue jacket is inviting and soothing to the audience.  If true, it didn't work.  The crowd was hopping mad about the development..

Given the animosity towards Whole Foods by a crowd that strongly supported the local organic grocery store, Good Earth, I was impressed that an employee of Whole Foods showed up to represent the company.  Or at least he was identified that way by the BRVA program and by the panel's moderator.  I was stunned to learn later that the man portrayed as being with Whole Foods, Bryan Chandler, is actually a local real estate developer. the principal owner of Eclipse Real Estate.

I have to admit, I don't buy into the notion that organic food is healthier than non-organic food.  Organic food certainly costs more.  Further, I think it is Whole Foods' right to move into Broad Ripple and compete with Good Earth.  But there is a big problem with the good old fashioned free market competition between the two stores.  The large national chain, Whole Foods, would be subsidized with our property tax dollars while the local Good Earth gets no subsidy. That's not the free market at work.

But it meant something to me that night that a Whole Foods representative actually showed up to defend the project.  Turns out that was an illusion.  Bryan Chandler is no more an employee of Whole Foods than I am.


Anonymous said...

Lousy grade in Agency? Bryan was billed, and introduced as a 'representative,' which doesn't require an employment contact, and, he did explain the extent to which he has and does represent Whole Foods in the past and currently, so it's not much as 'shocking disclosures' go. Probably also worth noting, since wardrobing seems to be an issue, that compared to the rest of the 'panel, Bryan had by far the coolest socks.

Paul K. Ogden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul K. Ogden said...


I'm sorry, but that is a crock and you know it. He should have been disclosed as a local developer who was there on behalf of Whole Foods, instead of being falsely portrayed by him and by BRVA as being employed by Whole Foods. Then again, it's a BRVA meeting so I guess I shouldn't expect a fair and honest portrayal of facts.

Anonymous said...

The Public Agenda, oh crockmeister, read in pertinent part as follows:

Jamie Browning, Browning Investments, Inc.
Bryan Chandler, Eclipse Real Estate
Jimmy Curtis, Sheehan Development
Greg Jacoby, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf
Elizabeth Marshall, Midtown Economic Council
Joe Scimia, Faegre Baker Daniels

So far you seem to be the only one talking about, or having talked about, his "employee" status. I still can't see the significance of his level of agency, but can't see your insistence on distorting the facts to take a swipe at BRVA. Did they decline to slate you too?

artfuggins said...

The BRVA has ceased to be a voice for Broad Ripple Village. It is now a bought and paid for mouthpiece of Mayor Ballard and his wealthy developers. If Whole Foods really want to locate here, let them send a management employee to defend why they should be subsidized by the taxpayers of Marion County.

Rick Wilkerson said...

I found it interesting that the Star's article indicated that Mr. Browning was an investor in four Broad Ripple restaurants, something I hadn't seen elsewhere. Which just goes to show: always follow the money. Browning's restaurant pals are ready to return the favor of participation by greasing the skids for his big development.

Nicolas Martin said...

It's hard to find a business that is not subsidized by government. Who pays for the road, sidewalks, and alley surrounding Good Earth?

So far I've not read any clear description of the ways in which Whole Foods will be uniquely subsidized. Will it not have to pay rent, and fairly high rent, at its proposed BR location?

Pete Boggs said...

In TIF schemes, developers make profits & taxpayers assume risks.

As a bigger box player, Whole Foods will enjoy subsidized housing that it otherwise can't afford (or they would locate without it); making them a govie-select lottery winner.

Assessment trending is such that other owners will be assessed at new development rates; thereby jacking their assessments & operating costs. Most commercial tenants pay triple net leases whereby annual escalations in tax, insurance & other expenses are paid by them- translating into higher rents. Those who "can't keep up" will fuel the hollowing trend that results from TIFS over time.

"Caps" are 3% for commercial property. Guess who really likes new, high end development trending? Mo-g, big govie fans do. Woodfield At The Crossing "enjoyed" hollowed status for several years.

Nicolas Martin said...

"As a bigger box player, Whole Foods will enjoy subsidized housing that it otherwise can't afford (or they would locate without it); making them a govie-select lottery winner."

Hard evidence?