New building will enhance housing, retail
Posted on 04/04/2024
Apartments, retail and a potential restaurant will occupy the building when completed. The Planning Commission approved at its April 2 meeting a Preliminary and Final Site Plan, with conditions, for BMB Investment’s new, mixed-use building to be built at 340 N. Center. The three-story, mostly brick building will be prominent at the southeast corner of N. Center and Rayson, where it will occupy three lots previously home to the Pizza Cutter and a house formerly used as a hair salon.

The Planning Commission had reviewed the site plan twice earlier in 2024; making recommendations and, together with Planning Consultant Sally Elmiger, pointing out areas that either didn’t abide by ordinances or didn’t match the Master Plan’s intent for that Central Business District Overlay. Several commissioners and members of the public who attended the meetings said they wanted to see something special that blended in well with the existing area yet stood out on its own right at this important northern gateway into the city. Each time, BMB owner Al Bazzy and Joseph Guido, of Guido Architects, heeded their advice and brought back a revised site plan.

The five conditions are: 1). Natural Resources: Defer review of improvement in the 100-year floodplain to the city engineer during the engineering review stage (parking lot to south). 2). Defer evaluation of signs to the building official after the sign permit application has been submitted. 3). Coordinate stormwater and utility connections with the city engineer and DPW director. 4). Use common-sized, clay-based brick (3-5/8 x 2-1/4 x 7-5/8) instead of jumbo cement-based brick. At a minimum, the clay-based brick needs to be used on the north, west, and south facades (visible from street). 5). Mechanical equipment should not be visible from the street.

The site plan shows eight apartments of approximately 1,000 ft2 each, and four retail spaces on the first floor with roughly the same square footage as the apartments. One of those spaces could be used as a restaurant. The site covers .56 acres and contains a portion of a box culvert that handles waterflow from the Randolph Street Intercounty Drain. Because it’s in a flood plain, excess stormwater will be handled by installing a bioswale and rain garden.

Photo below: Initial design submitted by client, which was changed over time.

One of the earllier designs of the building.