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Five-story building eyed for Triangle District

By Lisa Brody

A proposed five-story mixed use building for the former site of the Plant Station at 720 S. Adams Road in the Triangle District in Birmingham received approval for its community impact study at the Birmingham Planning Board's meeting on Wednesday, October 25, but board members sent the preliminary site plan back to the drawing board for revisions.

Birmingham Planner Brooks Cowan explained the site is currently vacant, and before there was the Plant Station, the site was a gas station. There are environmental concerns about underground storage tanks, hoses and other buried items which he said will need further investigation.

The developer, Ralph Faranso of Walled Lake, is proposing a building of five stories with one story of underground parking and another level of parking on the first floor. There will also be 16,00 square feet retail on the first floor, followed by 41 units of residential, including a penthouse suite. Cowan said a mixed use building aligns with the city's uses for the Triangle District.

Architect John Marusich of Marusich Architecture in Bloomfield said the basement will go deeper than usual because they are looking to do elevator parking. He also said they will have LEED-certification.

Planning board members accepted the community impact study, 7-0.

However, they had great concerns over the preliminary site plans, notably if there was enough room for cars to turn in the parking lots, pointing out that there needs to be room for van accessible spots. There were also issues discovered with the lack of windows in bedrooms, package storage, trash pickup and the relationship between the building and the adjacent building under construction.

“I don't think the relationship is great. Nothing is lining up,” pointed out board member Janelle Boyce.

“We want to make sure these are good plans that function,” said board chair Scott Clein.

Board member Bert Koseck was not a fan of the design in total. “I think it looks like a parking structure. I think these are terrible units. I'm glad I'm not an investor in this project. I just see a lot of flaws.”

“At this particular stage, a postponement would be appropriate. This is a major project,” said board member Robin Boyle.

Board members voted unanimously to postpone the preliminary site plan to Wednesday, December 13.


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