The building would be 6-stories tall with the upper four being commercial and the lower two being parking. Access on foot would be via Cedar Street and garden space on Jones Street. Vehicle access to the first level would be via Cedar Street and an entrance to the second level of parking would be via Bradford Street.
The developer desribes the amenties of the building in their marketing material as:
- 4 Floors – 15,000 square feet per floor
- 60,000 square feet of rentable space
- Engergy efficient design
- Green building technology
- 2-levels of under building parking
- On-site storage
- Private fitness center
- Courtyard with sitting area
- Open floor plate
- Custom design and build out
- Panoramic views of downtown
- Integrated security and access control
The Planning Department’s report to the CPC suggest approval of the Master Plan propsal.
Based on the analysis and findings contained in this report, the Commission should approve the Master Plan stage of development
subject to the following conditions:
- The CPC should grant the requested relief for the side yard setback on Jones and Bradford Streets.
- The applicant shall consult with the City Forester to refine the landscaping plan to better suit the streetscape.
- The applicant shall conduct a traffic study to determine the impact of the development on traffic flow in the vicinity.
So do we like this project? Well…
Yes and no. A sizable office development on Federal Hill is welcome. The fact that Omni wants to expand the footprint of the West Exchange Center is certainly welcome and engouraging. Almost anything other than the sad parking deck that sits at this corner now is welcome.
It’s just that”¦ parking garage entrances on the two main road facades? Sigh. Certainly this is not Atwells Avenue – forcing the developer to put retail on the ground floors that will just fail because there is next to no foot traffic in this neighborhood would be a burden. However, this is one of the highest profile corner lots of a neigborhood that could, in years to come, if the rest of the lots on Cedar Street are developed with more offices and housing, have a modicum of foot traffic, maybe enough for a corner store or a dry cleaner or something.
The current sad parking deck has entrances on Cedar Street for the lower level and Jones Street for the upper level. This building proposes to lower the height of the decks so that the 3rd floor of the building (the first occupied floor) will only be slightly above the level of Jones Street. This is why there is a garage entrance and Bradford Street. Certainly having the Jones Street facade be occupied space is better than it being a parking garage.
I would encourage the developer to design the building in such a way as the ground level could at a future date be converted easily to retail spaces if the market in the neighborhood called for it. Closing the parking entrances on Cedar Street and making that ground level retail while leaving the entrance to the second level parking on Bradford Street.
Site Plan (Cedar Street at right)
So, what do we think?