In every neighborhood, some buildings exist as leftovers, hold outs from another era. Sometimes these properties, with the proper attention, become neighborhood assets. Examples in Bella Vista include the apartments at the former De Pazzi School at 7th & Christian and the Bank of Italy building at 7th & Fitzwater, now a dry cleaners. Other buildings serve no greater purpose and seem like they're merely waiting to get redeveloped. This brings us to a small warehouse at the corner of 7th & Kater, owned by Cellini Provisions since the 1980s. Developers purchased the property earlier this year.
When we say that the building is serving no greater purpose, we don't mean to impugn the business that's been operating out of there for thirty years, nor are we speaking badly of the playhouse that preceded it or the carpet warehouse before that. We're just noting that a one-story, 2,200 sqft warehouse is a little out of place at this location, and there's surely a higher and better use for the property. The new owners seem to agree.
Earlier this month, they appeared before the Bella Vista Neighbors Association, presenting plans to demolish the building and replace it with a new three-story structure. The first floor would contain some yet-to-be-determined commercial tenant. Four apartments are proposed for the second and third floors. We'd bet on two per floor. The community process, and ultimately the ZBA, is necessary because the project calls for 100% lot coverage, same as the building the developers want to tear down.
We haven't seen drawings but in the abstract this seems like a perfectly reasonable plan for this property. Did anyone out there attend the meeting, and can fill us in on the reaction from the neighbors? Aside from maybe the people next door who would be losing some light and air, who wouldn't want to see this happen?