Sonny Bonnacio organized a neighborhood informational meeting to present a proposal to rehab the “Pink Palace” on Union Avenue.
Sonny Bonnacio is on the left and Mike Ingersoll of the LA Group is talking on the right. The gentleman in the middle is Sonny Bonnacio’s colleague.
This is the old Skidmore dorm, Moore Hall. Back in 2006, North Star Development bought the property with plans to tear the palace down and replace it with several large buildings that would incorporate upscale condos. Unfortunately, 2008 sunk the project.
As explained by the principal of North Star, he and Bonnacio have a tentative agreement to develop the property. It was apparent that for purposes of expediting and simplifying the approval process they want to make minimal changes to the property.
Apparently the building was built like a bunker which meant that even after sitting idly a decade it is structurally sound. Concurrently, it would be hugely expensive to take the building down. Complicating things is the fact that the ceilings are only seven feet six inches high and while the corridors are unusually wide, the rooms are quite narrow. So the plan is to build 54 micro, one bedroom apartments. The apartments will be 550 to 700 square feet and rent for $1,200 to $1,400 dollars.
The developers think there is a market for these apartments to serve young executives working downtown at the three advertising firms and other local businesses.
The area is already zoned for apartments. Their problem is that the zoning law requires them to have 1.5 parking spaces for each apartment and the parking lot behind the building that empties on White Street has only about 50 spaces. Therefore, In order to go forward with this project they will have to get a zoning variance to address the parking.
There was a very good turnout of homeowners from the neighborhood. While the people were sympathetic to the project, there was clearly concern about the lack of parking and about the impact that all the new tenants would have on traffic on White Street and Regent Street.
Sonny Bonnacio promised to have another meeting once their traffic consultants came up with proposals.