What a fantastic victory!
Briefly, Bonacio Construction and Norstar Development tonight asked that the Zoning Board of Appeals put their conversion proposal for Moore Hall aside and consider a radically new one. They did a presentation of a very rough plan to tear down Moore Hall and replace it with a series of structures that will house twenty-eight condos with all of the required parking on site, almost all or it underground (two spaces will be above ground). The condos will be priced to sell for under $700,000.00.
The exciting thing here is really the extraordinary spirit, energy, and organization of the many people who devoted their time and skills to oppose this project. This was a classic example of “people power” : the signs throughout the Southeast sector of the city, the petitions, the research on the problems with the project, the publicity to get the word out, and the poise and dignity of the many speakers who attended the Zoning Board of Appeals meetings and the special City Council meeting.
To Sonny’s credit, he told the audience that he had run into opposition to every project he had worked on but he had never experienced the opposition he faced with his plans for Moore Hall.
So let me gloat for a few lines at Sonny Bonacio’s expense. I do so with a certain good humor. Sonny is a man of extraordinary charm. He never seems threatened and his enthusiasm for his projects is to be admired. Still let’s remember the narrative that appears to have evaporated:
- It is simply too expensive to take down Moore Hall.
- The only way to make the development of this parcel work is to put 53 mini units in the old dorm.
- If this project is turned down, this decaying building will be a liability to the community forever.
Well, miracles will never cease. It is now possible to take down Moore Hall and to build twenty-eight condos.
This should also be a cautionary tale to all the people who accepted this narrative and told the neighbors that they would have to live with the plan to paint the pink palace brown, cram it with “micro” apartments, and deal with all the accompanying parking and traffic problems.
I will write more about this in a posting later this week.