Exhibiting the architectural theme of New Urbanism, a neighborhood design characterized with elements harkening back to pre-World II, small towns, the Village of West Clay is a 719-acre neighborhood community located between Ditch and Towne roads and 116th and 141st streets in Carmel

Real estate developers George Sweet and Tom Huston aimed to recreate a traditional community, including walkable blocks and streets, shops, accessible public spaces, and historically inspired architecture. New Urban developments exist throughout the United States and internationally in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. While other similar cities in neighboring states, such as Columbus, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky, have a number of New Urban neighborhoods, the Village of West Clay is the only such development in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Development of the Village of West Clay began in 2000. The neighborhood includes a mixture of housing styles, lot sizes, parks, green spaces, and paths. The village Meeting House has the air of an austere colonial-era courthouse. Housing styles found in the Village are indeed retro and eclectic: Italianate, Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Tudor. United States history inspired many of the street names and neighborhood features, including famous Hoosiers like U.S. Senator Albert Beveridge and Congressman Schuyler Colfax.

Existing residents, many of whom lived in the area’s large homes on manor-tracts, thought the village’s New Urbanism was out of place. Dan Grossman, a writer for the alternative newspaper Nuvo, characterized experiencing the Village of West Clay as feeling like one was “driving through a painting by Thomas Kinkade, the painter known for his quaint, retro, and light-drenched depictions of American domestic bliss.” The Carmel Chamber of Commerce, however, recognized Sweet and Huston with a special award for what its members defined as a “visionary project.”

Although houses sell quickly, renting out commercial spaces in the Village of West Clay has proven difficult, especially as storefronts are not visible from Main Street. Community commercial amenities have included offices, a dry cleaner, a gift shop, and two restaurants. The Carmel Clay Public Library opened The Joyce Winner West Branch at 12770 Horseferry Road in the Village in January 2020.

Revised April 2021
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