The redevelopment of Block 137, often referred to as the Wizer block, has been a high priority project for the LORA Board for a number of years. The project is included in the East End Redevelopment Plan as Project J, and as such, it is eligible for financial assistance using urban renewal funds. In early 2013, property owner Gene Wizer and his developer, W&K Development, approached LORA for financial support for a new mixed-use development on the site. At the Board’s May meeting, W&K Development Principal Pat Kessi, presented a concept plan for redeveloping Block 137 that included new residential and retail development consistent with Project J in the East End Plan. Based on the proposal, the Board directed staff to negotiate a draft development agreement for the Board’s consideration.
The project will be three separate four- to five-story buildings that will have a total of between 215 and 228 higher-end residential units and between 27,000 and 28,000 square feet of quality retail. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $92.6 million.
Evergreen Group anticipates that approximately one quarter of the residential units will be condominiums and the remaining three quarters will be apartments. This may change based on market conditions. As currently planned, the units will vary in size from 620 square feet for one-bedroom units up to 1,800 square feet for three-bedroom units. The final floor plans may also include some studio units that could be used as executive rental units for visitors.
The retail spaces will be located along both A Avenue and 1st Street for active retail uses. These uses must comply with those described in the City’s Development Code as Retail Sales and Food and Beverage Services.
The project will have approximately 457 parking spaces on two levels of below grade parking. This includes approximately 322 spaces for the residential component, which is an average of 1.5 spaces per unit. There will be at least 135 parking spaces for public parking. This parking is intended to satisfy the parking requirement for the retail component of the project. The City will lease the 135 spaces to ensure that the project will have public parking. The City will enter into a parking management agreement with the owner of the retail component of the project to ensure the public parking is operated and managed for the benefit of the community and the retail tenants.
The project includes an east-west public walkway between First and Second streets, and a north-south public walkway connecting Evergreen to the east-west walkway.
The project will be designed to a high standard using architecture that will meet both City Code design standards and the community’s design expectations for new development in our downtown. Certain exceptions to the Development Code will be required as part of the development review process. The most notable are: a fifth floor on portions of the development; ground floor residential units along portions of Evergreen Street; and the use of public parking to meet the retail component’s parking requirements. The project as planned will not exceed the 60-foot height limitation in downtown.
The developer has submitted their Development Review application, and City staff is in the process of reviewing it to make sure it’s complete and ready for consideration by the City’s Development Review Commission (DRC). DRC’s review will include a public hearing for citizens and interested parties to weigh in on the proposed design. The public hearing will likely be scheduled for January of 2014. The City Council will only get involved in this project if there’s an appeal of DRC’s decision.
You can follow the project as it goes through the Development Review process, including providing testimony at the DRC public hearing. When this public meeting is scheduled, the Planning Department will publish it on the City's project webpage under the case file number LU 13-0046: