Yesterday afternoon, Salemtown leaders were finally able to communicate all of their concerns about the rezoning of the Salem Gardens properties directly to the developers, who admitted that they had been "hands-off" about getting neighborhood support for their requested changes. The developers also showed some of their plans for duplexes along Garfield Street (elevations pictured above), and asked for neighbors' feedback.
The Salem Gardens Group, who originally received support to build multi-use retail/residential and townhouses at the corner of 6th and Garfield, came back in 2007 and along with UP, LLC asked to have the 5 properties downzoned for duplexes. The Planning Commission rejected that request after hearing opposition at the Public Hearing and recommended to the Metro Council that 3 of the properties be zoned for single-family homes. That recommendation is currently pending third and final reading at the Council's late June meeting.
Should the recommendation be supported by the Council, the SG Group will be able to build the three duplexes along Garfield (pictured above; they are in the process of getting permission to subdivide 1 of the 2 Garfield properties, which will allow them to build the third duplex). They must decide whether they can afford to build a single-family home on their remaining property on 6th Avenue, which will be zoned RS7.5 (intended only for single-family homes) on council approval. Their other options are to do nothing, to request another downzone or to sell it.
While the neighborhood association has not opposed the duplexes along Garfield, it has opposed the SG Group's attempts to build duplexes on the remaining 3 properties along 6th. Yesterday we explained to the SG Group that we are fighting for a balance between detached homes with yards and multi-family dwellings. The SG Group said that they were open to the idea of building a detached home on their 6th Avenue property if they believe that they can get the same return as they would a duplex by doing so. Some neighbors also expressed the hope that the SG Group would consider building brick and masonry duplexes along with their planned clapboard ones and choose a style closer to a "brownstone" look. The SG Group expressed openness to consider those requests.
The remaining two properties in the original Salem Gardens mixed use proposal are owned by UP, LLC (run by Schoene Ansicht developer Steve Yokley, who was not at the meeting). Pending council approval, those will be zoned RS7.5 for single-family homes. Currently, the blighted triplexes pictured at the right sit on the properties. The word on the street is that UP, LLC is not going to tear these down (in which case any new builds would have to be single-family homes). Instead, I am told that they intend to renovate them and use them as multi-individual spaces.
I cannot confirm this, because Mr. Yokley has made it clear to me after my posts on the Schoene Ansicht controversy that I do not have his permission to quote him. However, UP, LLC has also made it clear to neighbors in the past that they do not intend to build any single family homes in Salemtown ever, regardless of the views of our neighborhood association. Given all of the attractive development either going up or planned around Werthan Lofts do you think that these can possibly be upgraded beyond their resident-warehousing/trailer-park look to enhance the quality of life on 6th Avenue?