Update on Wood Partners’ Project for the Former JCC Property

NOTE: Much of this information is in the May edition of the Wedgwood Echo newsletter, which is mailed to all WCC members.  This begs the question…”Why aren’t you a member?”

On March 26th, members of the Wedgwood Land Use Committee and the Wedgwood Action Group met with Wood Partners to learn about their plans for the JCC property at 8606 — 35th Ave NE.  Wood Partners’ willingness to meet with our two community groups was a very appreciated gesture, as there is no public notification requirement for their project.  According to Wood Partners, their project includes the following changes to the project originally designed by Murray Franklyn:

  1. Change from condos to apartments.
  2. Reduce on-site parking as the revised City Code now allows – from 1.25 stalls per unit to 1 stall per unit.
  3. Replace ground-floor retail spaces with live/work units.

Given the economic realities of our local economy and these type of developments, we appreciate why Wood Partners is proposing these modifications.  Furthermore, there is no legal basis that the WCC could make to request additional parking despite the concerns of those neighbors immediately adjacent to the site.  However, after reviewing the project, the Land Use Committee voted to recommend that the WCC formally withhold its support for the project until retail space is reincorporated into the project.  Given the site’s location to the 35th Ave NE and NE 85th Street business core, the Land Use Committee determined that live/work units for that location were not consistent with the Vision Plan that the Wedgwood community worked so hard on throughout 2010.  As a result, the WCC formally requested that Wood Partners reconsider ground-floor retail space.

To their credit, Wood Partners has contacted the Land Use Committee on several occasions to discuss the potential for retail space in that building.  In fact, the Land Use Committee has worked with the Wedgwood business district to provide Wood Partners with tangible businesses, including CC & Company, that are either looking to relocate or come into Wedgwood.  Unfortunately, some popular business types that the community has prioritized (e.g., restaurant) could not occur at their site due to the lack of suitable plumbing and ventilation necessary for those establishments – a design decision made by previous owners Murray Franklyn and not Wood Partners.   We remain hopeful that through cooperation with Wood Partners, they can identify realistic tenants that can support a business in their building.

In late April through early May, work was occurring at the JCC property in preparation for construction, which has included asbestos abatement, electrical hookups, utility work and subsurface explorations.  During this time, Wood Partners has also reconnected a beautiful custom mosaic created for the JCC with the original artist and allowed members of the Hunter Farms Project Steering Committee to walk through the site to see if there were any materials worth salvaging for the upcoming Gathering Place project.  We understand that the project’s financing should be finalized shortly and site demolition will begin this coming week.

While construction is scheduled to begin very soon, the Land Use Committee will continue to work with Wood Partners to identify potential retail businesses that could occupy ground-floor space.  If you have any information regarding businesses that may be suitable or interested in ground-floor retail space in Wedgwood (it cannot be a Type 1 food service business [e.g., restaurant]), please comment below or email » the land use committee.

Disclaimer: The WCC and its Land Use Committee does not speak for the Wedgwood Action Group.

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