The saga of the northeast corner of 23rd & Christian continues.
Back in the summer of 2013, the owners of this property came to the neighborhood with a plan to demolish it and construct a five-story mixed-use building with first floor retail, second floor office space, and apartments above. In the sixteen months since, the project has gone through countless iterations, at one point seemed like it wasn't going to happen at all, and finally settled in recently with a proposal for a four-story building with retail space on the first floor, eight apartments on the second and third floors, and office space on the top floor. This version was continued at the ZBA in both September and October. We don't see it back on the calendar, meaning we won't hear about it again until after New Years.
In recent weeks, some readers that live near this corner have gotten letters stuffed in their mailboxes, urging them to oppose the project in its current form. If you read through the letter, the six signers are willing to accept the 100% lot coverage variance and lack of a rear yard, but are completely opposed to the requested height variance. The code allows for a building that's 38' high, but the developers are asking to build to 43'. The Friends of Madison Square, after many meetings with the developers, are supporting the revised project. According to the petition though, over a hundred people (!) have signed on, opposing it in its current form. The opponents seem very concerned with protecting the "integrity of the neighborhood."
We've said from the beginning that we like the idea behind this project and want to see it built in some form. We're not surprised that some are still opposed to it, though we'd have guessed that the opposition would stem more from lot coverage and setbacks than it would over five feet of height. On the corner of a wide street, this parcel can certainly accommodate a few extra feet (or stories if you ask us). As we've said before, a vacant school is at the corner of 24th & Christian, and nearby Saint Charles and Shiloh Baptist are certainly taller than 38 feet. A slightly larger structure wouldn't ruin the character of the neighborhood any more than any of those buildings already have. Which is to say it won't.
But hey, feel free to disagree in the comments. Or better yet, agree with us!