Planned Hotel, Apartments, Retail at Grinstead Dr. and Lexington Rd.
There's a great new coffee shop on this site, Fante's Coffee. Well worth a visit. Live music Friday and Saturday nights. In response to neighbors' concerns about the future of this plot of land, here's my take:
Yes, Kevin Cogan of Jefferson Development wants to build a complex of residential rental, hotel and retail facilities on the entire site. Likely he is giving favorable leases to the current occupants. The current business operators seem positively disposed to him.
The plans call for maybe 41 stories up. That's as tall as anything downtown three miles away. The idea is "urban infill" instead of suburban sprawl. It seems inappropriate for the area which has nothing much over 3 stories, especially since it will be casting a shadow over much of Cherokee Park (more figuratively than literally since it sits to the north of the park and the sun is either to the south or just above during summer...). But it would be visible from lots of places in the park, day and night.
The best opportunity for urban infill in the 40-story range is anywhere downtown and then south of Broadway. Tons of empty lots and plenty of tall buildings nearby.
The method of operation for Mr. Cogan is to offer a very attractive price to landowners and then claim an inability to make a profit on the investment without building well beyond surrounding zoning standards (read up on Willow Grande for background).
Our local government really wants to be known as "business friendly" so they are heavily biased towards granting variances on all kinds of zoning restrictions to which the rest of us "non-business" local landowners are never entitled.
The skeptic in me believes that some developers make large donations to local government (maybe legally, maybe illegally).
I do want to compliment Steve Poe, however, another developer who has has built several projects in the area without lawsuits or protests since he seems to follow prevailing zoning standards. So, folks like me who are against some projects aren't against all projects or development in general. We just want everybody (individuals and businesses) to play by the same rules. I think it's called equal justice under the law.