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City To Developers: Don’t Let Sidewalks Collapse
by Allan Appel | Aug 9, 2013 11:07 am
Renovators of the historic 12-story building at Church and Elm received a warning message along with approvals for their project: You’d better make sure to replace those deteriorating sidewalks.
The approvals came at the most recent meeting of the City Plan Commission, which unanimously voted to advance—with conditions—a plan by Cooper Church LLC to convert 205 Church St., the grand old Union Trust commercial building kitty-corner from the Green, into 145 apartments.
Click here for a story about the sale of the building in April after another developer was unable to proceed with plans to turn the 1928 building into a luxury hotel.
During the City Plan meeting, City Engineer Richard Miller (who was making his final City Plan appearance before retiring on Aug. 2) was emphatic that the developer needs to replace the sidewalk.
That’s because the sidewalk there sits above a below-ground vault.
Aaron Hastings, representing Newman Architects, said that the development team hadn’t yet considered that question.
“Are the sidewalks going to be replaced?” Miller repeated.
“Definitely, yes,” said Hastings.
The replacement has to be a load-bearing sidewalk, Miller went on emphatically, because of the vault beneath and also because of the bad habit trucks have of driving up over the curb onto the sidewalk.
“Make sure that it will take a truck load, not just pedestrians,” Miller said.
“Our group is committed to doing the right thing,” said Jim Segaloff, attorney for the developers.
Other changes the developers presented included replacing the worn green cloth canopy on Church Street with a steel and glass version; some additional roof space above the 12th floor for tenants; and the expression of what Segaloff called a “significant intention” to build a parking garage to replace the adjacent parking lot on Elm Street.
“It’s going to be a beautiful corner for all of us,” Segaloff said.
Although it was not discussed at the meeting, the City Plan staff report indicates that the owners are applying to enroll 205 Church St. in the National Register of Historic Places.
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Talk is cheap. What policies are in place to ensure that this is actually done?
I assume the policies in place are the city inspectors won’t approve the building to be open until they do it.
Has there been any indication yet on when the renovation might be finished?
I was under the impression that sidewalk repair was generally the City’s responsibility? It would make sense in this scenario to have the developer be the first to correct the issue, but what about ongoing maintenance? And why is renovation of sidewalks not a must have for every development?
posted by: Kevin on August 9, 2013 3:38pm
The project is subject to an “as built” site plan review before it can get the certificate of occupancy needed to allow anyone to rent units in the building.