Edwards Submits Plan for High Street Between Gay and Long
Edwards Companies appears to be moving forward with their plans to build on the surface parking lot at the northwest corner of West Gay and North High streets downtown. This time, though, the plan encompasses the whole block, stretching north to West Long Street. An Edwards affiliate, the Eclipse Real Estate Group, has submitted plans to the Downtown Commission for a six-story building containing 164 apartments, three levels of parking, and about 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The submitted renderings and site plan show two third-floor courtyard spaces – one with a pool – that would serve to break up the High Street facade of the building. The portion of the building closest to Long Street would only by two stories, but drawings show the potential for four floors to be added to that section in the future.
Edwards, which declined to comment on the project, is in the process of renovating the Citizens Building at 51 North High, across Gay Street from the proposed building. Plans submitted to the city for that building show an entrance to a tunnel in the basement, which would allow residents of the restored building to access the new parking garage across the street.
Marc Conte of Capital Crossroads SID said that given the feedback they’ve heard about the lack of clustered retail space downtown, the potential upside of this project is huge.
“If we can get retail space on that entire block, that’s critical to making retail happen downtown,” he said. “We’d have clustered retail space on both sides from Broad to Long, and even beyond with the Atlas Building and Deli Boys and Subway to the north.”
In terms of the height of the project, Conte added, “purely from a design perspective – given that its downtown, and given the width of High at that point – that block could support a ten story structure…but that doesn’t mean that will work with the developer’s program, so that’s obviously up to them to decide.”
The commission will weigh in on the new proposal at their July 28 meeting. The document that guides the commission in reviewing new projects (which was updated in 2013), calls for a minimum height of five stories for new buildings fronting High Street. There is no maximum height; the guidelines state that the “tallest buildings in the downtown should be focused on the High Street and Broad Street corridors.”
The 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan, meanwhile, recommended that new buildings in the “primary urban core” be eight stories or more, with “ten-plus stories acceptable and additional height encouraged where appropriate.”
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