May 12, 2022
Yesterday in Zoom was a meeting on the proposed 13-storey residential building for 170 apartments, offered in the quarter 4700 El. The meeting, organized by the Garden Community Zoning Committee, was consultative and included a Spruce Street Development lawyer and a building architect. Residents could make optional proposals regarding the project, construction of which is likely to begin in the fall.
Here are some key points of the meeting:
• Demolition of existing one-story commercial buildings in the quarter is expected to begin at least by the end of the summer to make room for the new building, subject to approval by the city’s design review committee. Some neighbors have expressed concern about possible air and soil pollution as a result of demonstration work at a nearby communal garden project.
• The building will include large commercial areas, including a two-story with an escalator. Commercial tenants of the premises are not yet known. Some neighbors have expressed concern that building owners may have difficulty finding tenants for commercial space due to what they observed in the Garden Court building at 47th and Pine, where there are still several commercial vacancies.
• Other concerns included too few proposed parking spaces (the current plan includes 28 parking spaces for cars accessible via Spruce Street and 76 bicycle spaces) and possible congestion on 48th Street. The construction proposal includes an off-street loading platform that can be accessed via 48th Street.
• Residents nearby also discussed the height and design of the building, with one neighbor saying it “doesn’t fit into the Garden Court” because “it doesn’t look exactly like other buildings in the neighborhood”.
• The lack of affordable housing in the proposed building was another problem. New apartments, mostly one-bedroom and studios, will be offered at market rates. The developer has decided to pay $ 1.8 million to the Housing Trust Fund to receive a mixed-income housing bonus of greater height and area instead of providing affordable housing.