307 College Ave is currently a two-story building in Collegetown with commercial space on the ground floor and apartments above. Denied a parking variance after a zoning board appeal last November, this project will be due to come back to life once parking minimums are revised, or possibly done away with entirely (under current codes, putting the planned 50-units for 103 beds on this parcel would have required the creation of 57 parking spaces). Greenstar Cooperative has already pledged support by planning to put in a retail grocery operation, which, as it stands now, would probably be a great benefit to nearby residents since there is hardly a place within walking distance to buy fresh produce. The developer, Josh Lower, and his father William Lower run C Town Rentals, which operates over 80 apartments in the Collegetown area.
Since Common Council passed the new Collegetown Area Form Districts back in March, most of Collegetown falls under a re-written form-based zoning ordinance, in which districts determine the massing, accepted uses, setbacks, parking requirements, and various other aspects of what can be built or modified. Form-based zoning seeks to establish allowable building massing as a priority over accepted uses, and emphasizes a logical transition from rural areas to urban centers, mimicking the transitions found in natural geography. More information available here (was once called the Center for Transect Studies, but the concept itself emerged in the 1970s from various individuals, with the first code written for the Florida town of Seaside by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk).
307 College Avenue was re-zoned to MU-1, which has no minimum parking requirements (satisfying thing to read on a zoning ordinance), much like the CBD-zones downtown, therefore the project may continue without a zoning variance, which was attempted previously. The proposal is showing demolition of the existing two-story College Ave-fronting structure, and a six-story project with five first floor commercial spaces (one of which may be a Greenstar location), and 43 apartments: 13 studios, 15 two-bedrooms, 5 three-bedrooms, and 10 four-bedrooms.
Here’s a map and shots of the sketch plan submission:
307 College Ave as it sits now. It will be nice to see Collegetown Crossing move forward, so hopefully the parking will get sorted out sooner rather than later. A group of Cornell graduate students were tasked with updating the area’s parking study from 2000, and came to the general conclusion that there’s enough parking, but the location and price are inefficient. Mayor Svante Myrick has backed the project, and the revision or elimination of parking minimums.