The developer and architects of the six-story, mixed-use apartment project set to rise where the old Piecora’s building was demolished return to the East Design Review Board Wednesday night with hopes of convincing the body that their new plan truly is worthy of connecting E Madison to the overhauled McGilvra Park and world-renowned Bullitt Center, above.
In April, apartment giant Equity Residential and Ankrom Moisan architects were rejected by the board for a design that members said needed “more retail and transparency to engage and interact with the streetscape” on E Madison and needed to do a better job connecting to the neighborhood around the six-story, 137-unit project with parking for 78 vehicles and a planned 3,800 square feet of retail space.
The board was also unhappy with the developer’s plans for the building’s internal courtyard: UPDATE: A Ankrom Moisan Architects rep points out that the courtyard issue was addressed after the first early design guidance session. Sorry for the error.
The response? Equity reps say the new proposal increases the presence of the building’s commercial space “with multiple entries off Madison by increasing the frontage setback” — that is how a developer tells you they’re giving in and planning to create smaller retailer spaces.
The new design also adjusts the eastern “mews” component of the project after the board said the design needs to “create a strong visual connection to the streetscape for pedestrians.” The board also asked that the plans “consider the privacy of the neighboring structure” — the Qualman Apartments — and do more to make the mews component “play off the relationship to the nearby McGilvra Place Park.”
It has now been more than three years since CHS broke the news on the $10.3 million deal to acquire the Piecora’s property from the family who owned the pizza joint and its old building home to a handful of commercial tenants. The project cruised through its first review of the project’s basic bulk and scale in summer 2015.
Will the new plan be enough to push the development over its final review hump? If the project is further delayed, Equity might just decide it’s easier to keep buying completed Capitol Hill projects than build its own.