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VOL. 130 | NO. 195 | Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Grocery, Apartments to Rise at McLean-Union Corner

By Bill Dries

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Belz Enterprises and Harbour Retail Partners of Marietta, Ga., have a plan to demolish the empty eight-story Artisan Hotel on the southwest corner of Union Avenue and McLean Boulevard.

The project would replace the blighted building with a $43 million mixed-use “Midtown Market” anchored by a “national gourmet grocery store." It also would include 188 apartments: 47 studios; 94 one-bedroom units; and 47 two-bedroom units.

Proposed view at Union and McLean

(Looney Ricks Kiss)

According to the partnership’s application for a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal to the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. board, the development would include the apartments; 30,500 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor for the grocery store/supermarket; another 10,521 square feet of commercial space for smaller tenants; and 513 parking spaces in a parking deck and two parking levels.

Tentative renderings of the development, including several alternative layouts, show the anchor retail would front on Union Avenue at Idlewild Street in a one-story brick building. The entire project encompasses 3.3 acres.

The CCRFC will consider the PILOT request at its Tuesday, Oct. 13 meeting.

The project's application materials didn't name a specific grocer but it did leave some clues. From the documents: "In addition to the apartments, the development is working to bring a national gourmet grocery store into the anchor tenant position of the retail. This grocery operator will be able to serve the needs of Midtown as well as Downtown and will be a unique offering currently not offered anywhere west of the Parkway."

Belz and HRP plan to secure financing for the project in December, begin demolition in June and open Midtown Market in October of 2017.

Looney Ricks Kiss is the project architect, Montgomery Martin Contractors is the general contractor and Magna Bank will provide financing.

Proposed view at Union and Idlewild

(Looney Ricks Kiss)

Belz-HRP Partners is seeking a 15-year PILOT that would save the developers $10.5 million in city and county property taxes over the term, or $705,400 a year.

Belz and HRP would pay $1 million in back taxes on the property. The owner of two of the three parcels in the block-size project filed for bankruptcy, so the property is in arrears.

The developers say the PILOT would mean a cumulative increase in city and county property taxes collected on the properties of $1.7 million over the 15 years of the agreement.

Belz and HRP are also asking the CCRFC to stray from its policy of limiting such tax breaks to the Downtown area.  The fine print of the CCRFC’s rules for such incentives allow the board to grant them for projects outside Downtown that have what the developers termed “extraordinary attributes.”

In their application, Belz and HRP point to the CCRFC’s approval of a pilot for the $150 million Crosstown Concourse project currently under construction.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 87 1,429
MORTGAGES 39 60 1,107
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 6 196
BUILDING PERMITS 92 209 3,265
BANKRUPTCIES 42 84 837
BUSINESS LICENSES 21 23 352
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0