Recall that a previous post looked at the potential redevelopment of this lot at the corner of Norman and Preston. In essence, the proposal is to demolish the garage and build a 3 storey apartment unit. See http://westsideaction.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/infill-what-might-fit/, I asked readers what they thought of the infill, and got a number of intelligent replies. So, end the suspense, what does the site owner propose?
What does the project look like? These two elevations are from the City development application:
And this one is from the developer:
The landscaping plan shows the ground between the building and the street to be well landscaped. There is a bike rack, with room for three bikes. An earlier version of this project had a three-car garage on the ground floor, but this goes against city policies that discourage rows of garage doors facing the street.
Th new infill comes to within about 4′ of the existing semi’s to the left, once their back porches are torn down.
The front of the new apartment is set back further from the sidewalk than the Norman Street side of the existing semi’s; and align with the fronts of the rest of the houses along the street. Thus, a sort of step back in buildings as we progress from the busier traditional main street and onto the quieter residential side street.
The new building will have a roof deck with a 3′ wall around it, as amenity space for the new units. The new building would be windowless on the back and left sides.
Lots of similar size of the semi’s abound in the neighborhood. Right at the corner of my street (Primrose at Preston) are corner houses with barely 8′ from the back of the house to the (side) lot line; at Elm and Preston there is a gorgeous four door row with a 3′ back yard, and zero side yards. I think the proposed design is urban and of good quality. I would be less enthused if it was a plastic siding boarding house … so yes, my opinion on creating an infill varies with the quality of the infill project.
In order to build the new units, the owner has to sever the lot into two, one lot for each building. The new building would be on a lot about 33′ x 33′. The lot is currently zoned six stories mixed residential and commercial. This residential-only infill helps maintain the low-rise residential component of the neighborhood. And the tiny lot and lack of parking might also discourage converting the two semi’s facing Preston into restaurants. The lack of ground amenity space doesn’t bother me, since I dont think these apartments are aimed at people who want to play frisbee in a big backyard or park six cars “out back”. Instead, their appeal lies in contemporary design and easy access to the patios and street life of Little Italy.
This developer, by the way, built another infill just down the block, which was featured on some earlier postings: