Nov 08, 2018 Jason Emerson
Business, Eagle Bulletin, Government
A four-story, mixed-use retail and residential development has been proposed for 5840 Bridge Street in DeWitt, the site of former Mixer’s Grill. (photo by Lauren Young)
The former Mixer’s Grill site in DeWitt may soon transform into a four-story, mixed-use residential and retail development — the first project proposed under the Town of DeWitt’s new Mixed-Use Village Floating Overlay District — and was presented during a public hearing at a special town board meeting on Monday, Nov. 5, at the town hall.
The project, proposed for the vacant, two-acre site at 5840 Bridge St., is proposed to have a 17,967 square-foot main floor of retail space with 15,914 square feet of leasable retail space, and apartments on the second, third and fourth floors.
The second floor, which will feature some office space and residential amenities like lounge and fitness areas, is proposed to include 11 apartments for the second floor, 16 for the third floor and 14 for the fourth floor — 41 units total, a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments.
A site plan for the first proposed mixed-use project at 5840 Bridge Street to take advantage of DeWitt’s overlay district. (courtesy Clough Harbour & Associates)
Targeted business tenants are high-end retailers or “something small” like a bagel shop on the ground floor, picturing two to four small retailers altogether, said Brian Bouchard of Clough Harbour & Associates, the project engineer working on behalf of Developer Woodbine Group.
Sidewalks around the site are also planned, connecting with currently existing sidewalks. Approximately 100 parking spaces are proposed.
This application is the first project to take advantage of the town’s overlay district option, developed last June. It was first proposed to the board in July.
The proposal and site plan were presented on Nov. 5 by Bouchard, who stressed its conceptual stage, and was seeking an adoption of the overlay district regulations by the board to move forward. Upon its approval, the project team will dive into the design details with the planning board.
The application has already made its way to the planning board for consideration on Thursday, Sept. 27, to which it recommended the town board adopt the overlay district on a “parcel-by-parcel basis,” and that the project appropriately integrated its commercial and residential uses. Based on the board’s feedback, the project has “evolved significantly,” said Bouchard.
Bouchard said the site’s central location in the town offers many opportunities for residents, like job opportunities and ridesharing.
“We feel this is a good fit for the mixed-use project and the lifestyle, as far as work and play,” said Bouchard.
This Bridge Street site, however, has long been considered a cursed location, as tenant after tenant has failed to last long at the location. From Carmella’s Café to El Canelo to Rosario’s, and most recently Mixer’s Grill, town councilor Karen Doctor asked Bouchard how this project will deal with one of its most difficult qualities — how to get in and out of there.
“That spot has traditionally not fared well after Carmella’s, and even after they put in a separate exit, it still did not work,” said Doctor. “What is your plan for access and egress from this development?”
Bouchard said the entrances and exits are “inherent to the mixed-use project,” and prior restaurants in that location failed because of volume, hours of operation, fast turnover of cars associated with the restaurant and “very intense use.”
“What we’re doing with the mixed-use project is bringing that intensity down to a level where you have a retail component, a lighter use on the ground floor and then residential units on the upper floors,” said Bouchard.
He said the project will maintain access to Bridge Street and are working alongside the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The application’s public hearing was closed by Michalenko and all board members voted to approve the district overlay regulations for the project to continue.
The project team will return for the town board’s regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.
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