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Owner wants prime Old Town property converted to residential use

1101 King Street, image via Google Maps

A building in the heart of Old Town could be getting a new residential makeover if it can get a special use permit.

“The Applicant, American Real Estate Partners, requests approval of a use permit, pursuant to section 12-101 (D) of the Zoning Ordinance, to convert a portion of the existing building located at 1101 King Street (the “Property”) from office and parking to residential use,” the application said. “The attached concept plan shows the conversion of floors 2 through 7 into approximately 210 residential units (or the number of units that can be supported by the existing parking spaces).”

The project is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission on June 23.

The current office building was built in 1983, predating new regulations for density in the area set in 1992. The new plans won’t add any density to the building, but still require a special use permit because they aren’t compliant with current limits. The building, once a headquarters for the American Society of Travel Agents, but the application said filling vacancies in the building has been a struggle even before Covid tanked the office market.

“The existing building on the Property is an aging condo office building and has struggled to retain tenants over the years,” the application said. “The building is approximately 80 percent vacant. Due to its condo office status, it is challenging to bring the office space to Class A condition. A major challenge to the building’s occupancy is the step back terrace design which creates an inefficient floor plate for office uses.”

But American Real Estate Partners said the building’s layout would work better as residential use, though the ground-floor uses along King Street will remain as-is.

“Residential use is complementary to the neighborhood and important to the continued retail revitalization along King Street,” the application said. “All shopping and services for the new residents are within an easy walk — including a Whole Foods less than a ten-minute walk away. The King Street Metro Station is less than a ten-minute walk away — offering new residents easy access to multiple nearby employment sectors; including the under-construction Amazon HQ2 which will be four short stops away.”

Image via Google Maps

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