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The Anson Community

The Anson Community

Nestled between northwest Indianapolis and Zionsville in southern Boone County is Anson, a 1,700-acre mixed-use community in the process of being developed by Duke Realty Corporation. Harkening back to the kind of entrepreneurial spirit shown by its namesake, Anson Mills, Duke’s immense development melds new and innovative planning ideas with a nod to the traditions for which the county is known.

industrial complex

Headquartered in Indianapolis and one of the nation’s largest publicly traded office and industrial real estate companies, Duke Realty Corporation saw the Anson property as a natural extension of its development history in Indianapolis. Duke’s first massive industrial complex began in Indianapolis in 1972, and its more recent development, Lebanon Business Park, just to the north of the Anson property solidified Duke’s position in the highly desirable Indianapolis-Chicago corridor along I-65. The site allowed Duke the unique opportunity to develop its core commercial product types in a master-planned community along with residential, retail and medical uses connected by miles of trails and acres of green space and lakes. And it set the stage for future Boone County development along the I-65 corridor.

The Anson community is named for Anson Mills, a Boone County native who grew up in nearby Thorntown. The vision for Anson was founded on the concepts of new urbanism and placemaking. New urbanism incorporates a number of design principles like mixed uses, narrower street grids, sidewalks and trails that promote walkable communities where people can live, work, shop and play. Duke applied this innovative concept with the objective of creating an urban lifestyle in a sustainable and convenient location while providing solutions to rising oil prices and energy costs associated with the depletion of the world’s natural resources.

Employment opportunities within the community can minimize the need for long commutes and help make the community both environmentally and economically sustainable. Placemaking principles are employed, mainly through hardscaping and landscaping, to craft a pleasurable community with civic gathering places, both small and large. Just as Anson Mills embraced the future while appreciating the past, those involved in Anson’s creation are honoring past stewards of the Anson land. Many of the streets and public spaces are to be named for pioneering families and county notables. An example is Willey Square, named for former nearby residents Carroll and Mary Willey, who, over several decades, opened their Whitestown home to over 300 foster children.

From the project’s early beginning in 2004, Duke representatives worked with county officials, community representatives, and nearby residents and business owners to create a community that would enhance not only the development itself, but the surrounding community. Part of that approach included innovative approaches to planning and zoning that includes flexibility not typically embraced. “That’s sort of the beauty of having one developer develop coupled with a flexible zoning plan unit,” explains Tom Dickey, Anson VP and General Manager, “because we can adapt the plan, with county and city approval, but we have the right to adjust for market changes.”


To the north, AllPoints at Anson (the 650 acres that make up the light industrial/ distribution portion of Anson that Duke owns in a 50/50 joint venture with Browning Investments) already boasts major employers, Medco Health Solutions, ASI Limited and CEVA Logistics. “Those projects are either up and running or were under construction before the market issues in real estate and the overall economy,” says Dickey, “and we have been able to continue to talk about job growth, new people in the community, new shoppers and a need for housing.”

Growth and demand have remained steady and Duke plans to break ground on a 540,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art warehouse situated across the street from’s facility in the coming months.

Anson has not been immune from the challenges that face the overall real estate and credit markets, but location and the master-planned amenities that Anson offers have helped them weather the storm. In the fall of 2007, apartment developers Flaherty and Collins opened the blvd apartments and national developer Ryland began marketing an enhanced townhome project. Despite a downturn in the residential market, both communities have flourished.

In the summer of 2008, Duke chose local builder Hansen & Horn to build and develop single-family homes for families of all sizes in the Anson community. Like Duke, Hansen & Horn is an Indianapolis-based builder whose history dates back to the early 1970s. Hansen & Horn has a reputation for creating quality homes with innovative design features backed by strong warranties. Ward Horn and his son, Steven, embrace the traditional neighborhood design (TND) parameters Anson features homes with tucked away rear-loading garages and welcoming front porches situated among a sprinkling of pocket parks and gathering places where kids play and families and friends spend time together.

“We are excited about our relationship with Duke to help build one of the most progressive communities in Indiana,” says Ward Horn, founder of Hansen & Horn. “This is a great opportunity to build a neighborhood that has a classic hometown feel with homes that have originality and character.”

Soon, Anson’s custom home sites will also be available to homebuyers wanting to create an even more unique home. Anson’s architectural review board will assure the homes maintain the integrity of the community while allowing for individual expression—whether built by Hansen & Horn’s custom division or a buyer’s own builder. “Unlike many of today’s newer housing projects, Anson is building a unique community of distinctive homes whose architecture and value will stand the test of time,” says Cindy Meskauskas, a real estate agent with the Zionsville office of the F.C. Tucker Company.

Shopping and service opportunities are emerging in Anson as well. CVS and Lowe’s flank The Marketplace at Anson, a center that includes an Arthur Murray Dance Studio, several local eateries, independent stores, banks and personal care services. Across the street, a more than 40,000-square-foot medical office building is under construction, and an office building, a hotel, a supermarket and an early childhood development center have closed on land and are in various stages of the planning and zoning process.

The foundation has been laid for the completion of the Anson community over a projected 15-year build-out—a community where families and workers will enjoy an interconnected place to live, work, shop and play.

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