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VOL. 132 | NO. 148 | Thursday, July 27, 2017

Council OKs Multifamily Project Near Overton Park

Overton Gateway compromise protects other historic areas

By Bill Dries

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The key element in selling the Overton Gateway project compromise to Midtown homeowners turned out to have little to do with the height of the apartment buildings or the number of parking spaces.

The mixed residential development by Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC at Sam Cooper Boulevard and East Parkway drew the concern of a lot of Midtown neighborhoods with historic status because its apartment buildings exceed the guidelines of the Lea’s Woods historic area on the eastern edge of Overton Park.

Overton Park was known as Lea’s Woods before it became a park.

Neighborhoods with historic status are clustered in the Midtown area.

The city council approved on Tuesday, July 25, a multifamily development near the edge of Overton Park outlined above. (Makowsky Ringel Greenberg)

The compromise accepted by MRG LLC and most, but not all, of the homeowners in Lea’s Woods included a statement that the exception to the historic area standards is not a precedent for violating the standards in areas with the same designation.

“They are all historic neighborhoods,” Kathy Winterburn of the Annesdale Park Neighborhood Association told council members. “They all have standards and we want them maintained. We care and we want these historical standards recognized and respected and maintained.”

The Lea’s Woods subdivision, which is a historic district, has guidelines prohibiting anything over two stories.

The compromise has MRG decreasing the height of the multifamily structures from five to three stories.

Barbara Sysak, a former president of the Central Gardens Association, termed the compromise a “one-time waiver.”

“We support that one-time waiver,” she said. “It seems like this is a reasonable compromise for this situation.”

But several homeowners next to the project disagreed.

Ken Kelly said it amounted to “big money and big business coming in and taking over the neighborhood.”

“We’re not against development,” he said. “But we’re against this development of the property. There is nothing for anybody to buy. You build the community by building property people want to invest their money and future into.”

Gary Makowsky of MRG described the land, which was stripped of houses when it was part of the planned corridor for Interstate 40 to come through Overton Park, as “such a significant site for the city.”

MRG beat out Loeb Properties in bidding on the land several years ago to develop it. It was designated for multifamily, multi-story development in 2001.

Makowsky said the company’s goal on both sides of Sam Cooper was “a design that would stand the test of time.”

He also said the company owns properties all over the city and owns them for an average of 28 years.

“We don’t build to sell. We don’t flip our properties,” he told the council.

Council members approved the Overton Gateway development Tuesday, July 25, in a pair of unanimous votes – one for the plans on the north side of Sam Cooper Boulevard at East Parkway and the other for plans on the south side of Sam Cooper at East Parkway.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 211 21,788
MORTGAGES 0 164 16,581
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 17 1,521
BUILDING PERMITS 0 641 43,132
BANKRUPTCIES 0 100 6,817
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 23 3,192
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0