The developers hoping to build this 12-unit condo building on the former site of the River Cafe at the corner of Montrose Blvd. and Marshall St. are requesting a variance from the city so they can scooch the project’s blank-wall parking-area front 15 ft. closer to Montrose Blvd. than city rules ordinarily allow. And if they don’t get their way, they’ll make the 7-story structure even bigger, the variance application threatens. That would mean fencing off the building’s front; putting the parking garage on 2 floors instead of one, and adding “additional living floors . . . making the building much taller than others adjacent.”
A submitted site plan prepared by Element Architects shows the existing right-of-way reduced by 5 ft. along Montrose Blvd. in addition to the setback requirement, to allow for future widening:
A landscape plan included with the application notes that the development is connected to Riverway Properties. Montrose & Marshall LLC purchased the land in December, and made the variance request.
Why would this building deserve to receive an exception to the 25-ft. setback imposed on major thoroughfares? Well, the single-story River Cafe building demolished here in 2009 went right up to the street, the variance application notes. “This is one of the few truly walkable areas of the City with a high pedestrian population,” it reads. “Many existing buildings are constructed on the property line or within the 25’ setback, which adds greatly to the pedestrian character of the area. The proposed 12 unit residential condominium will have a broad veranda/balcony directly overlooking Montrose Blvd. It will be on top of the ground level parking garage, and the openings will be hidden by a ‘green screen.’ The large oak tree on Montrose near the Marshall corner is to be preserved and other large trees (4″ minimum caliper) are to be added. Sidewalks will have enhanced parking; most of the area between the Montrose façade and the curb will be paved as appropriate to an urban setting but small plant beds will add interest. There will be a seating wall and existing street lights will be supplemented by pedestrian level lighting.”
Here’s a view of the site from Marshall St., showing the Parc Towers across the street:
A condo tower called the Riparian was proposed for the site 10 years ago.
Drawings: Element Architects. Photo: Swamplot inbox