Commitment to Community Vision Drives Project Forward
Over the past several months, the project team for the Dot has reviewed proposals from several developers interested in the private elements of the project. All proposals were consistently encouraged by the opportunities for street level commercial and aggressive about residential opportunities for this area; however, developers were relatively demure about building office space on spec. In lieu of building office, developers offered an alternative vision to replace the office and maximize the building with additional residential units.
In October, 2017, the City Council and Planning Commission approved of a mixed use concept that envisioned 39,000 sf of office space on top of the parking deck, 12-16,000 sf of street level commercial space, and about 26,000 sf of residential space located along Allen Street on the west side of the deck. (1) The goals for these uses are to diversify the downtown economy by adding more daytime jobs -(2) shift the peak hour parking demand from the evening to the afternoons/ increasing evening parking capacity, (3) promote density, walkability and active street uses. The pursuit of office is based upon need and recent market studies executed by Gibbs Planning prior to the Dot project.
Joseph Gacioch, Project Manager and Assistant City Manager recognized that taking the time to vet these proposals caused some delays on the project. "Many of these proposals were economically viable," Gacioch said. "At the heart of it, we considered the 18 months of public process, numerous focus groups and public meetings, Steering Committee input, community goals, and data from our market studies - wrap that all together and it seemed too premature to abandon the community's vision."
While the team will continue to pursue office, their will be a slight course correction as the team will pursue a smaller footprint initially, pursuing 20,000 sf of flexible office space, rather than the 39,000 sf. "We see this as a small wins make big waves mentality as opposed to a 'go big or go home' mentality, Gacioch said". We will work with our engineers to ensure that we design for room to grow for additional office in the future should the opportunity arise.