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First Phase of Motorists’ Plan Calls for Five-Story Building Overlooking Topiary Park

Brent Warren Brent Warren First Phase of Motorists’ Plan Calls for Five-Story Building Overlooking Topiary Park
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Motorists Insurance Group revealed more details of its plan for a one-acre parking lot abutting the Topiary Park Downtown. The latest proposal, which was presented to the Downtown Commission at its meeting on Tuesday, also shed some light on the company’s plans for future phases of the development.

The overall plan calls for a total of 256 units, parking for 778 cars, and another 10,000 square feet of retail space. Those future phases would fill in the additional surface parking lots that Motorists owns east of South Washington Avenue.

The building facing the park would hold 68 units; a mix of townhomes, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and studios. A parking garage accessed from Oak Street would hold 114 cars, and a 4,000 square foot retail storefront would occupy the first floor of the building at the corner of Oak and Washington.

“The meeting went well and the commission provided a positive response to our conceptual plan,” said Michael Lisi, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Services for Motorists Insurance Group, who presented the proposal to the commission. “We expect to see completion in the spring or summer of 2019.”

Daniel Thomas, the city’s Urban Design Manager who administers the Downtown Commission, said that commissioners were generally supportive of the development. More details will need to be provided when the proposal is brought back to a future meeting for a vote, he said. The quality of the windows, doors, wrought-iron stairwells, and other finishes will be examined to ensure that the final product matches the look of the submitted renderings.

Another topic of discussion was the plans for Library Park Drive, which would be converted into a pedestrian-only pathway under the proposal. Thomas said that multiple city departments will be involved in discussions about the right-of-way, which will remain in the city’s control. Access for fire and other emergency vehicles would be maintained, he added.

Motorists is partnering with the Robert Weiler Company on the project. Moody Nolan is the architect.

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