Archaic deed restrictions that blocked construction of a hotel/retail/residential project at the southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest avenues have been lifted. Supreme Court Judge John A. Michalek issued a written decision this today after a non-jury hearing in late March. Deeds from 1892 limited the properties targeted for the development to residential uses.
Property owner Chason Affinity Cos. proposed a mixed-use complex for 1095-1121 Elmwood and 605-607 Forest Avenue after buying the site in 2008. The $25 million development called for an eight-story building combing retail, a boutique hotel with 125 rooms, enclosed parking for 160 cars, and 20 upper-floor condominiums. Plans were prepared by architect Charles Gordon. Subsequent designs called for a shorter building.
The developer needed the full support of neighboring residents in order to build the mixed-use project as envisioned. Deed restrictions, which sunk a previous proposal from Savarino Cos. for a Wyndham Hotel at the site, prevented commercial uses. Somehow those same restrictions didn’t prevent the structures currently on the site from containing a mix of residential and retail uses. One hundred percent of the property owners on the Elmwood/Forest/Bird/Granger block needed to sign-off on the deed change. They did not and Chason Affinity sought relief from the courts.
After today’s ruling, Chason is expected to refine and pursue its development plans despite expecting an appeal from six plaintiffs that reside along Granger Place. Chason is also expected to ask the judge to require the six Granger Place homeowners put up a financial bond that would ensure that Chason would be protected from taking a hit for loss of business.
A victory for common sense.