A local developer made “pretty significant concessions” in recent weeks to get approval to replace a single-family home on East Second Avenue just south of College Drive with a mixed-use building 10 times its size.
Local architect and structural engineer Tracy Reynolds plans to build a three-story building with office space, a three-bedroom apartment and a penthouse he and his wife plan to live in at 564 E. Second Ave. A 748-square-foot building exists on the 1.72-acre lot – Reynolds plans to develop a more than 7,700-square-foot structure.
But the plans, approved by the Durango Planning Commission and Design Review Board, are downsized “quite a bit” from a proposal the developer made in late January.
That proposal included a four-story, 12,742-square-foot building with a retail space, two offices and three residential units
Neighbors living in the 500 block of East Second Avenue criticized the previous design for its size, scale and minimal setbacks. Neighbors at the end of January called the original design “monstrous” and “essentially gentrification at its core.”
“I think, anytime you do a major project, there are people that aren’t going to be happy about it,” Reynolds said in an interview.
“Change is always difficult for neighbors. We tried to be cognizant of their concerns and made some pretty significant concessions.”
The original proposal earlier this year would have been built to the lot lines on the north, west and south sides. Reynolds has since proposed a 5-foot setback in a new design.
He also removed one residential unit and shrank the building by one story, changing the height of the proposed structure from about 50 feet tall to 42 feet at the top of the main roof.
The 500 block of East Second Avenue is zoned within the central business district. City code sets a 55-foot height limit in the area and seemingly directs developers to build to property lines.
Reynolds told the Design Review Board on Wednesday that he hopes “the whole block is redeveloped like this.”
“I think it makes sense for downtown to expand, and there are not really many other areas that we can expand into,” he said.
The city did not receive public comments since Reynolds submitted his new design.
The city sent the new proposal to people who commented in January, staff said at the Design Review Board meeting.
No residents spoke at the design review meeting Wednesday, when the Design Review Board unanimously recommended approval of the project.
A previous version of this story said Tracy Reynolds developed the Mears House.email@example.com