Developers behind the proposed E Madison PCC mixed-use development will return Wednesday night for a rare third round of early design review. Their new plan shaves off a few apartment units and 11% of the project’s parking to make room for a new row of townhouses on the development’s backside in a bid to satisfy nearby residents concerned the building won’t mesh with the single-family style homes destined to sit across from the four-story development’s backside.
With delays in the development project set to replace it, City People’s will stick around through 2017. The longtime owners of City People’s and its unusually large tract of E Madison land have said the decision to sell came with hope that the partners have put the property into the right hands after watching with surprise and disappointment when they previously sold their 15th Ave E home only to see a Walgreens rise on the property. But nearby residents in Madison Valley, it seems. might never get over the deal.
What about the review board? Developer Velmeir and architects at Meng Strazzara will need to convince the reviewers that their proposal to drop apartment units and cut around 16 parking spaces to add a row of townhouses as well as “residential style” windows to parking garage level set to face Dewey Place E is enough to finally put the project over the “early design guidance” hump. The developer will also make the case to keep its plan for splitting loading dock access to E Madison and shopper and resident parking access to Dewey.
In October, the Save Madison Valley group rejoiced when the design review board kicked the project back for a second time. The front of the project and the planned 25,000+ square-foot grocery haven’t been the focus of debates around the development. E Madison is being positioned as a busy transit corridor by the city and developments nearby along the street aren’t at the scale of the new project but include multi-story apartment and condo buildings. The problem has remained the part of the project that marks where the street’s density seeps onto the single family home-lined streets below Madison. “The Dewey transition,” one member of the design review board said in October, “is not as sensitive as it needs to be.”
With the latest proposal, residents in the area have pushed back on what would have been a large concrete parking garage wall and a plan that depended heavily on “natural vines” to make it look less like a large concrete parking garage wall. Wednesday, the board will have to decide if there is anything more the developer can do.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill…
Wednesday’s design review doubleheader includes what could and should be the final session for the long-planned Kelly Springfield office and retail building on 11th Ave: