(Updated at 1 p.m.) The first set of buildings in the West End project — the start of a massive redevelopment of what was Landmark Mall — were approved at a City Council meeting this weekend.
Developer Foulger-Pratt won the unanimous approval of four blocks of the sprawling development, consisting of residential, commercial and medical offices.
There were no public speakers on the topic and relatively limited discussion from the City Council after a presentation by staff and the developer. Vice Mayor Amy Jackson noted that the development was “the best holiday gift ever.”
While the projects have been met with enthusiasm by city leaders who have tried for decades to move Landmark redevelopment forward, at the Planning Commission there were concerns that the project wasn’t progressive enough in its environmental design. At the City Council, some leaders shared their nervousness at how the new development could impact market-rate affordable housing throughout the West End already struggling with increasing rents and skyrocketing evictions.
City Council member John Chapman expressed support for the project but did note concerns that the high-end residential development could threaten some of the area’s existing market-rate affordable housing stock.
“I’m cautiously nervous about what this means for the rest of that area of the West End,” Chapman said. “We’ve already seen some developments come forward that want to shift what we call naturally occurring affordable housing to non-naturally occurring affordable housing. With the approval of this site, I think we as a Council need to be cautious about what we see from development in that neighborhood and what that means.”
The project did face one additional setback: prior to the approval of the project, Chapman did note that he “can’t promise he’s ever going to call it West End.”
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