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  • By Lisa Brody

New five-story building gets design plan okay

A new five-story mixed-use building for the site of the old Mountain King restaurant and an adjacent abandoned bank building received unanimous final site plan and design review approvals from the Birmingham Planning Board on Wednesday, September 23. City planner Nicholas Dupuis said the applicant, Doraid Markus along with his architect Chris Longe, had submitted an application for final site plan and design review, proposing a new five-story mixed-use building with first floor retail, 121 or 84 parking spaces, with underground, subterranean lifts, as well as ground-level parking, second floor office or residential units with nine residential units plus storage, fitness and a community area, 41 residential units on floors three through five, and a rooftop patio. He said there are several one-bedroom units proposed, which will have between 675 and 710 square feet, and several two-bedroom units, which will have between 788 and 1,295 square feet. Many will have balconies or terraces. He said the applicant still appeared to be seeking parking variances for the Hazel Street frontage. The building is a three-frontage building, with frontage on S. Old Woodward, Hazel and Woodward Avenue. “It's the only D-4 building in the city of Birmingham not in the parking assessment district – there's a hardship here because they're not in the parking assessment district,” board member Bryan Williams noted. Dupuis said the building facade is to be comprised of three materials, granite at the base, brick and then the fifth floor will have metal cladding. Board members had issue with the “either/or” of the second floor, and requested the applicant make a decision as to whether it would be commercial or residential. “My instincts are that the number of parking spaces will be the same whether it's commercial or residential,” said planning director Jana Ecker. “They're going to have the same number of parking spaces in either cases. Both are permitted uses.” “I'm concerned about approving an 'either/or,'” said board member Robin Boyle. “Both Mr. Markus and I are prepared to commit tonight to residential,” said Longe. “This is a very nice plan, and just what the 2016 Plan called for this part of town. This is an asset,” said board member Daniel Share

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