Turkestanian-rug dealer Geoffrey Vaughan was the mastermind behind that strange sign posted a couple of years ago threatening a 10-to-14-story mixed-use building on the corner of White Oak and Oxford — right next door to the Onion Creek Coffee House. His latest project is a bit more modest: Getting a variance approved by the city tomorrow that will allow him to build a 2-story law office building a few blocks to the southeast at 409 Cortlandt, just north of 4th St. There’s another commercial building a block to the south, along the I-10 feeder, but there are homes directly around Vaughan’s site, which isn’t platted for a commercial building. To build one there he’ll need the approval of the planning commission.
Which Vaughan hopes to win with a bit of design magic. The rendering handed out to neighbors one-ups the grand recent local tradition of “built to look like” buildings: It’ll be built to look like a home, which of course in turn will be built to look like old. The south portion of the lot will feature an 8-car parking lot; plans show a 2-car garage and 2 more head-in spaces from the alley. But the city isn’t reviewing the building. Unless the commission restricts him to the design he’s showing as a condition of granting the variance for the replat, he’ll be free to touch it up later.