Developers returned to the town’s Community Design Commission last week with a revised version of Amity Station, a residential and commercial building proposed for 322 W. Rosemary St.
No formal application has been filed, but the 2.2-acre project, if approved, could replace Breadman’s restaurant and seven apartments. Breadman’s owners Roy and Bill Piscitello have said they plan to move the restaurant but not where it would go.
They are working with fellow property owner Larry Short to develop Amity Station. The men also collaborated to build Shortbread Lofts, a seven-story student apartment building across West Rosemary Street.
The new concept plan quadruples the office and commercial space to about 20,100 square feet, puts 300 parking spaces in an underground garage, and sets the number of affordable and market-rate apartments at 204 – 29 more than originally proposed in 2015.
The affordable apartments and the land underneath would be given to a nonprofit affordable housing developer, said Jared Martinson, project designer with MHAworks Architecture. The market-rate apartments could be leased with the option to sell them in the future.
The project would require a rezoning to allow a taller, more dense building. It also is in the Northside Neighborhood Conservation District, which includes a building height limit of 50 feet.
Project officials have met several times with neighbors, town staff, Jackson Center representatives and others to talk about the community vision.
That has prompted several changes, they said, including more office, commercial and residential space. The revised plan also steps down from six stories near Rosemary Street to two stories in the portion closest to Northside neighbors, and limits traffic to a garage entrance off West Rosemary Street and roughly 18 surface parking spaces on Andrews Lane.
The central courtyard is now restricted to tenants, while a public path along Nunn Alley could remain pedestrian-only but get new pavement and lighting. Project officials want the option to convert flexible commercial space along Rosemary Street to market-rate apartments if it remains vacant.
The project would help meet a serious need for affordable rental housing, said Delores Bailey, executive director of Empowerment Inc. The developer also “at least tried to listen” to what the neighborhood wants, she said.
Northside residents have expressed concerns that the project is too large and could attract student renters. Martinson said they would encourage a variety of residents with different floor plans, a resident association and longer leases, management approval of sublets, and limiting tenants to age 20 or older and students at least in their junior year at UNC.
Adjacent landowner P.H. Craig and his attorney spoke about concerns that the project would cut off access to his lots off Nunn Alley. Project officials said they have moved fire and emergency access to the other side of Amity Station to avoid that issue.
The Community Design Commission could review the plan again before it is scheduled for Town Council hearings