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Decatur City Commission approves Bank of America project changes

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Decatur City Commission approves Bank of America project changes

Decatur City Hall.
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This story has been updated. 

The Decatur City Commission at its regular meeting on April 15 approved special exceptions for redeveloping the Bank of America site into a mixed use project with 194 apartments.

None of those apartments will be classified as affordable housing.

The project site is on northern side of the block bordered by Clairemont Avenue on the west, Church Street on the east and Commerce Drive to the north, the property where the Bank of America building and lot is now.

In Sept. 2017, the city approved a conditional use permit allowing the developer, Mill Creek Residential, to add 29 additional units to the 203 allowed under the applicable zoning, provided those be designated as affordable housing reserved for applicants making between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income.

At its meeting on Monday, the City Commission approved the revocation of that permit, in addition to approving special exceptions “to increase the maximum ground floor elevation, to allow street-facing building facades to exceed 200 feet in length, to reduce parking space dimensional requirements, and to allow exceptions to the streetscape standards.”

Challenges with the site topography have necessitated several changes to the original plans for the development, including the need to reduce the amount of parking from four levels to three, Chad Dubeau, senior managing director for Mill Creek Residential, recently told the Decatur Downtown Development Authority. Reducing the amount of parking means the developer can’t build as many units as they intended, making the density bonus unnecessary.

The developer did look into other options to include affordable housing, but determined it would be cost prohibitive.

“I am used to providing affordable housing,” Dubeau told the DDA. “It is something we have looked at intensely over the past several months. We have gone over about 200 different options. But every one that we have presented, financially, it just doesn’t work.”

The Planning Commission at its April 9 meeting signed off on the exceptions requested by the developer.

Writer Cathi Harris contributed to this story. 

  
Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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