After less-than-favorable community feedback at a recent Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition meeting, developer Bart Blatstein then took his project for the review of the Civic Design Review earlier this week.
This “gateway” project for Broad and Washington includes 1,000 residential units, 143,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, and 25,000 sq. ft. for a multi-tenant offices space. Also included in the plans is above-ground parking, which has fueled some debate based on many residents preferring underground parking to occupy less space on this “superblock” Blatstein seems to be creating. After looking over the plans, the Civic Design Review wants to have one more meeting before making a decision on this current design.
Concerns of the committee include everything including the parking situation, the walkability of a “superblock,” and the accessibility of the “village” rooftop retail, but no one has directly come out in opposition of the project.
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After reviewing his designs, the Civic Design Review (CDR) Committee asked for one more meeting, the only regulatory power the advisory board has. Since the Committee wants to see the project again, the Zoning Board of Adjustment could opt to hold its decision pending the committee’s final review. In any event, the design may be tweaked some more.
Blatstein responded to nearly all of the Committee members’ concerns with some version of the phrase, “I get it.”
He gets the various perspectives on off-street parking: that providing too much will induce demand for more cars, and that too little will overwhelm the surrounding streets. He has proposed 600 parking spaces, while the zoning code only requires around 270.
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