By Kevin Collison
MAC Properties has expanded the development site of its planned $78 million Armour Crossing apartment to provide more parking, but is still facing pushback from some neighbors on the issue.
The Chicago-based developer plans to build 340 apartments and 27,000 square feet of retail in several structures on the four corners of Armour and Troost. It recently acquired adjoining property on the northeast corner of Armour and Harrison.
Peter Cassel of MAC told the board of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority last week the land will allow his firm to add another 35- to 45 parking spaces to the 170 already planned for Armour Corners.
The additional land to be used for surface parking includes two vacant lots and a pre-war six-unit apartment building at 3429 S. Harrison that will be razed.
Cassel said the land along Harrison was acquired to address concerns by a couple of the neighborhood groups about the amount of parking being planned for Armour Corners and the density of the project.
The preliminary plan reviewed last summer called for a building with a maximum height of eight stories and 80 apartments on the northwest corner; a maximum of six stories and 60 units on the southeast corner; a maximum of eight stories and 140 units on the southwest corner, and maximum of six stories and 60 units on the southeast corner.
“This acquisition will enable us to add land for additional parking and build in a less dense and tall fashion to answer many concerns of the neighbors,” Cassel said.
Pete Hughes, president of the Center City Neighborhood Association, said the additional parking was a good first step, but fell short of the neighborhood’s desire to have a .8 parking space per unit ratio for the project.
The current MAC plan, including the additional spaces off Harrison, would be about .6 per unit.
Hughes suggest MAC build structure parking for the project. The ratio desired by his association would require slightly more than 270 total spaces for the project.
“We feel a couple million (dollars) for structured parking is doable,” he said.
Cassel said structured parking would be too costly, adding that a .5 ratio has worked in other apartment projects along Armour developed by MAC.
Over the last decade, MAC has renovated a score of old apartment-hotel buildings along Armour totaling over 1,500 apartments.
“The market is not seeing a problem with parking,” he said. “Housing values are going up in the area and apartments are being absorbed. We think it’s the right ratio for an active, vibrant community.”
In a related matter, Cassel said work should begin by July on another apartment building that’s part of the Armour Crossing development but located a couple blocks away at 520 E. Armour. It’s a seven-story, 110-unit apartment project.
He said more specific plans for the development at Armour and Troost should be presented to the City Plan Commission during the first half of this year. Cassel added there has been strong interest in the retail space planned for the project.
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