Alatus project heads for final approval

– Post Bulletin

The Alatus project, a once hotly contended 13-story residential and commercial tower proposed in southwest Rochester, is headed on to a final review at the Rochester City Council with a unanimous recommendation of support from the City Planning and Zoning Commission.

The project, proposed between 14th and 15th avenues on the Second Street Southwest frontage, was in front of the commission Wednesday for a restricted development final plan review. The scale of the project remained unchanged — developer Alatus LLC proposed 347 residential units in apartments and town homes, 560 parking stalls and about 21,000 square feet of commercial space.

One new aspect of the plan revealed Wednesday was a request by the developer to build it under a staged, two-phase development schedule. The schedule would allow the developer to demolish some parts of the site while working on other features.

The staged schedule would also allow a business currently operating in one of the existing hotels on the site to move to a temporary location, a vacant single-family home on 14th Avenue Southwest. The tenant, a massage parlor, could later transition into the commercial space in the Alatus project, said Chris Osmundson, a development director with Alatus, who spoke to media after the meeting.

“It’s really just to serve as a transitionary space for (the tenant), and then to ultimately move back into our project,” Osmundson said. “That is a way that we’ve worked with the neighborhood and the tenants in that area to make sure that they can come back, if they so choose to, if they really like that location.”

Commission members were supportive of the developer’s work to add finer details into the final plan. Commission chairman Michael Walters, who at the project’s preliminary plan review had voted against the project due to its height, said he had moved past earlier discussions to support the project.

“When I look at it in terms of the criteria before us tonight, I think it looks really good and I think that they’ve complied with the criteria,” Walters said.

The commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the restricted development final plan.

Wednesday’s commission review was not a public hearing, so comments from the developer and members of the public were not allowed. The Rochester City Council is scheduled to hear the project at its Dec. 19 meeting and a public hearing will be open at that time.

The project has another hurdle to clear before its council review: the Destination Medical Center Corp. Board of Directors is schedule to review the project at its Dec. 15 meeting.

The developer has submitted an application to the city for joint funding support from the city and DMC, Osmundson said. He expected that request to be reviewed in detail at the DMCC board meeting and the council meeting later this month.

For now, Osmundson was happy with the unanimous show of support from the planning commission.

“It’s a great step for the project,” Osmundson said. “We’ve got our DMCC board meeting and our city council meetings coming up next and those will be the final verdicts for this project.”

By: Andrew Setterholm
Date: December 01, 2016
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