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Bay commission OKs Mandel project

Concerns raised over parking in downtown area

July 18, 2012

Whitefish Bay - The Plan Commission gave the go ahead Tuesday night to Mandel Group's proposed four-story development in the Silver Spring business district.

A joint public hearing before the Village Board and Plan Commission will take place on July 30 before the project is reviewed in a joint session of the Architectural Review Committee and Community Development Authority on Aug. 6.

The proposed development includes approximately 100 luxury apartments at the current site of two municipal parking lots behind Fox Bay Cinema Grill and a third private lot on the corner of Beaumont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Parking for apartment residents will be in a continuous underground structure underneath the development.

The structures over the current municipal lots will be raised, preserving most of the parking spots currently there. The parking spots on the private lot, which are currently used by the public - though not officially allowed, but also not enforced - will be lost as a result of the development.

Representatives from the project team presented an updated architectural plan to the commission, detailing the design of the buildings and landscaping aimed at improving the look of the space between the existing Fox Bay building and the proposed apartments.

"We want to upgrade what is now an alley next to a parking lot into a muse," said HGA Architects & Engineers Vice President James Shields.

Commissioners expressed concerns that parking in the area might be affected by construction. Mandel representatives said that the project will be phased to keep two parking lots open at all times.

Attorney Jeremy Levinson, representing the owner of the Fox Bay Cinema, told commissioners that his client is concerned over parking in the area, since residents of the complex would attract guests and their vehicles into the municipal lots. He advised the commission to make information regarding the development readily available to the public.

"Something of this magnitude, in a part of the community that is central to the quality of life and the quality of business life, really needs to be subject to a very careful review," Levinson said.

Commissioners said they would keep that in mind before ultimately approving the development to move onto its next stage of review before the ARC and CDA.

NEXT STEP

WHAT:Public hearing before the Village Board and Plan Commission

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. July 30

WHERE: Whitefish Bay Village Hall, 5300 N. Marlborough Drive

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