Tuesday, October 31, 2006

DeMarcay Comes to City Commission

The DeMarcay proposal for a hi-rise on Palm will come to the city commission for approval (or not) on Monday, Nov 13.

Several issues have been debated concerning this proposal.

The developers will save the facade (or a replica) of the DeMarcay Hotel on Palm and the Cigar Factory building on MiraMar Ct. The developers also propose an 18 story building on the narrow site and have asked for the downtown residential overlay density bonus - an increase from 50 u/a to 200 u/a in exchange for 3% of the selling price of the extra units.

The height will shade and allow views of the pool area of the 1350 Main building just north of the proposed building.

Palm Ave. business disruption has been horrendous during the 1350 Main construction process (it still continues). This has resulted in severe strain on the Palm merchants for two+ years as their customers have not ventured onto Palm. Some merchants have closed or moved.

Parking at the proposed DeMarcay has also been an issue. An elevator will be used and concern about "staging" cars to be parked is questioned. Will these cars cause congestion on Palm, i.e., when a Van Wezel performance ends and many residents return to their condo at the same time?

SOS would propose that if the DROD is given and the height is allowed, the developer be required to absolutely not interfere with easy travel and parking on Palm. There should be no additional consequence for the Palm merchants. There should be no interference on MiraMar Ct with the Methodist church and day care access and safety. Additionally the developer should be required to ensure that there will be no traffic blockage due to car staging on public streets; room in the building must be available (even if it requires a loss of some business or residential space) or an off site staging area must be secured.

Construction and parking in larger cities are accomplished with no disruption to surrounding businesses and traffic. The developer has said they have experienced construction companies in place that can accomplish this. Requiring this should not be an issue.

If the developer cannot meet these requirements then the proposal should not be allowed as submitted.

Concerning views and shade, the developers of the adjacent buildings can argue this issue capably. It will be interesting to see the arguments that are used and which are listened to by the commissioners.

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