A Sizable New Building Appears on Vine Street

A reader tipped us off recently about a big new building currently getting framed at 222 Vine St., and we’re kinda amazed it hasn’t come onto our radar previously. For whatever reason, a one story building was constructed at this address back in 1960, a structure that has housed an art gallery in recent memory. Despite the fact that it’s located within the historic Old City, the building provided absolutely no historic value whatsoever. At least as far as we can tell.

In the past

Even though the building was non-contributing to the historic district, the owners still needed to go before the Historical Commission to receive permission to tear it down and build something new in its place. Based on the minutes from their May meeting, it’s clear that the Commission was interested in the new building now under construction, and didn’t really care that the one-story building was coming down. It seems the initial proposal met with resistance from the Architectural Committee, and the developers made numerous changes to the project to make the building more appropriate for the district. It’s hard to visualize exactly what the finished product will look like at this point, but what we can say is that the new building looms large over the rest of the block.

Current view
View from the west
View from the east

The building, which rises five stories with a mezzanine on the upper floor, will contain 15 apartments which we suspect will be offered as rentals. The footprint of the building is quite small for a structure this tall, checking in at less than 2,400 sqft per floor plate. The parcel is zoned CMX-3, a common zoning designation in Old City which other developers have used to build mansions by right. This developer, Rock Construction and Development, is also building by right, providing a clear indication of the diversity of possibilities under this zoning designation. In order to build by right, the developers opted to create both a rear yard and a side yard, so the eastern side of the building will have a ton of windows. This is surely how they’re able to fit so many units into the building.

Without question, this new building will represent a higher and better use than the building that was here before. We appreciate the height and density here, and feel like this building is closer to the type of building the code intends in the CMX-3 district, as opposed to high end homes. Still, it’s a little funny that CMX-3, which translates into Commercial Mixed-Use 3, doesn’t actually have a commercial requirement. In the case of this building, we’re not sure that retail would even be appropriate, but it seems like an oversight in the code that the City will eventually consider changing.

  • Circa79

    there is another wood framed building going up in the 1200 block of vine. Not this tall though- 3 or 4 floors if I recall correctly.

  • James Goodwin

    Glad it was under the radar before the nitwits starting screaming about a “historic” one story building being demoed!

    • Kevin

      As the post says, the building was non-contributing to the historic district and the Historic Commission didn’t care that it was being demolished.

    • Michael Penn

      It wasn’t under the radar and the only thing that sucks about the garage being demolished is it was being using by several independent designers including MOTO until they moved into the building next door. Tucker Reality who owns most of the property on the 200 block of Vine street has been selling everything off.

  • Clank

    I’m still wary of buildings that tall made out of 2x4s and plywood. Look out for heavy wind gusts.

  • kclo3

    This zoning oversight is reinforced by the way the Planning Commission treats various zoning codes. In a system with RMX and CMX both existing, it’s clear that CMX zones should have required retail and RMX zones optional retail. But PCPC only treats RMX as a legacy category and doesn’t seek to utilize it as a potential rezoning category like CMX is. If they used it more, I bet it would help allay some of the RSA-5 rezonings they’re doing.