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Two Small Apartment Buildings Approved Downtown

Brent Warren Brent Warren Two Small Apartment Buildings Approved DowntownView of the proposed building as it would face Jefferson Avenue. Rendering by Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design.
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The Downtown Commission yesterday approved a plan to build a 19-unit apartment building at 600 E. Broad St. The new building will sit on a small parcel – less than a quarter of an acre – at the corner of East Broad Street and Jefferson Avenue.

Also approved was a plan to build a nearly identical building on East Main Street. That proposal was first brought before the commission in May.

Local developer JDS Companies owns both lots and plans to build both of the projects concurrently.

Dan Schmidt, Principal at JDS, told the commission that he views the projects as an “experiment” to see if an “elegant” design can be used to bring housing to these types of small lots. Otherwise, they tend to remain underutilized and undeveloped, he said.

“These are not luxury apartments, these are designed for people in the service industry or the support industry,” Schmidt added. “They won’t be $2,000 a month apartments…it isn’t affordable housing, but it will be positioned as workforce housing.”

A small existing building on the East Broad Street parcel will be demolished, although the large, two-sided billboard that sits on the property will remain.

That was a concern of several commissioners, who pointed out that the city no longer allows those types of freestanding billboards downtown. Schmidt replied that the billboard is under a long-term lease, and that the proposed design represents a compromise to allow for the property to be developed while not touching the billboard.

Although the commission voted to approve both projects, they requested more detail on the landscaping plans for both, and for improvements to the southern-facing wall of the East Broad Street building.

View from Broad Street of the proposed building and the existing billboard. Rendering by Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design.
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