The proposal: A nine-floor mid-rise with an inner courtyard and a three-level parking garage concealed from view of the street by the building. Proposed uses break down like this:
|Retail and restaurant space||4,000 square feet|
|Outdoor patio, commons area||1,250|
|Residential||95 units, 344 beds|
The next step: The San Marcos Planning & Zoning Commission will consider Carson’s request for a “warrant,” which would allow the building to reach nine floors
9 a.m. WEDNESDAY JAN. 15: The San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission voted Tuesday evening to table consideration of the Carson downtown mid-rise proposal until its next meeting on Jan. 28.
by BRAD ROLLINS
San Marcos-based Carson Properties is angling to build a nine-floor, mixed-use downtown landmark, but first the company needs planning commissioners to sign off on the building’s height.
The mid-rise would replace single-floor buildings on three tracts of land currently occupied by the Cedars and Eskimo Hut restaurants and by the Triple Crown, a venerable hole-in-the-wall bar and live music venue. The building’s footprint does not include the Yellow Store property, a landmark in its own right that sits on the Hopkins Street end of the same city block.
The three properties are zoned “T5 – Urban Center,” the highest level of density allowed under the SmartCode development ordinance adopted in April 2011 for the Central Business District. The code generally restricts buildings to five floors but states that “additional height is appropriate in the downtown context when not adjacent to the Square or other sensitive site.”
At its regular meeting Jan. 14, the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to consider granting a “warrant” that would allow Carson Properties to build up to nine stories. Under the SmartCode, a warrant differs technically from a waiver but is functionally similar — over-riding the letter of the ordinance by formally determining that a proposal upholds its spirit or intent.
Carson Properties’ proposal would provide “needed residential density in downtown to support the 2008 Downtown Master Plan’s vision of a dense, vibrant 24/7 urban center,” city planner Emily Koller wrote planning commissioners in a report recommending they approve the developers’ request for a warrant.
“As a large mixed use residential project in the transition area between campus and downtown, it will help to meet the housing demand created by the university in a way that offers an opportunity to live a car-free lifestyle without negatively impacting surrounding properties. The project … is characteristic of compact, pedestrian-oriented mixed use development that the SmartCode encourages,” Koller writes.
CORRECTION: This story originally referred to the Carsons’ proposed development project at Hutchison and Edward Gary as a high-rise. Though classifications vary, a high-rise is most often defined as a building more than ten floors high. A mid-rise is generally considered to be five to 10 floors.