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Commission Hears from Neighbors of Proposed 15-Story Building

Brent Warren Brent Warren Commission Hears from Neighbors of Proposed 15-Story BuildingRendering via Berardi+Partners.
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The architect of a proposed 15-story building at the corner of Rich and Fourth streets presented the concept to the Downtown Commission this morning.

George Berardi, Managing Partner of Berardi + Partners, walked through the plans and received largely favorable comments from commissioners. He said that the developer – Town Inn Co., LLC, an affiliate of the company that owns the 12-story Holiday Inn next door – is looking to move quickly on the project. The plan is to come back to the commission in two months for a vote of approval, and potentially to start work on the site by the end of the year.

The vote of approval would be on the main building proposed for the western portion of the site. A potential second phase of the project, which is also shown on plans submitted to the commission, calls for a four-story parking garage above ground-level retail.

That is the portion of the project that most concerns the residents of 199 S. Fifth St., a condo building with large patios located directly to the east.

Jim Villars, an owner of a unit in the building, spoke at the meeting and expressed frustration that there is no system in place for notifying neighbors of development proposals.

He also noted that he would be able to “reach out and touch the parking garage,” from his balcony.

Multiple commissioners clarified that the second phase of the proposal will not be up for a vote, and promised to listen to the concerns of neighbors if that phase is ever pursued.

“We will deal with that when and if the garage ever comes to us,” said commissioner Bob Loversidge.

The other major project presented to the commission was the eight-story, 220-unit proposal for 230 E. Long St. The new design of the building, which is taller and features an updated look compared to two earlier iterations, was also received favorably.

Daniel Ayars, Design Principal at NBBJ, said that the they hope to bring the project back for final approval from the commission next month, saying “we’re moving fast, (the developer) wants to get going quick.”

Also heard at this month’s meeting:

  • Renovation plans for the former Business First office building at 305 W. Nationwide Blvd. were approved unanimously. The building will be home to a Versa Coworking space.
  • Another office renovation, at 510 E. Mound St., was also heard by the commission, but no vote was taken on the plans. Education First Credit Union plans to open a branch office in the building and locate their headquarters there.
  • A new patio for Pub Mahone on East Gay Street was given the green light to proceed.
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