It’s been years since the Virginia-Highland community and the developer of the empty lot at 841 N. Highland Avenue sat down and talked — without lawyers — about plans to build a four-story mixed-use development on the property.
But it seems both Doug Landau, the developer of the property, and Virginia-Highland Civic Association leaders are willing to come to the table.
"I’m very willing to talk," Landau told Patch. "Absolutely…. there is a lot of compromise (possible)."
Landau announced in 2006 a plan to build a mixed-use development on the property, but a decline in the real estate market put the project on hold.
Plans involved a four-story building that included retail and residential space, an outdoor food court and a parking deck with nearly 300 parking spaces.
The project went through several transformations after major pushback from the community that included parking concerns and the height of the building, among many other issues.
Landau told Patch he is willing to reduce the height of the building if the planning unit grants him a special permit that would allow him to provide less parking spaces than the city code requires.
The property would need one parking space for every 100 square-feet of floor area to comply with city code.
But if the planning unit allowed him to build fewer spaces, he would nix plans for the parking garage and simply build a two-story building with retail and restaurant space.
The top two floors of the building are proposed condos, which Landau said he needs to build to cover the cost of the parking deck.
Jack White, president of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, said he is willing to talk with Landau about the project.
"We regularly have folks come to us with new ideas, and we're always willing to discuss how various proposals can be adapted in innovative ways that are consistent with the interests of local neighbors and the community at large," White said.
"The first thing you look at is the uses and density of the proposed other floors. That’s the key piece."
White said other factors to consider include the size of the development and the impact on the community.
Today, the lot is used to ease parking issues in the retail district of the neighborhood and is the go-to spot for the weekly food truck event on Wednesdays.
It’s unclear if Landau has plans to break ground on the project in the near future, but he’s kept his permits alive and could move forward at any given time.
Would you like to see Landau move forward with his project? Would you prefer the property remain as is? Share your opinion in the comments.
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