Phenix Hotel, Steeplegate parking decision pushed to March
|Published: 02-08-2024 5:27 PM
Two major city developments originally before the city zoning board Wednesday will now instead be taken up at the board’s March meeting.
Developers seeking to transform the former Steeplegate Mall into mixed-use buildings with hundreds of apartment units are asking for special permission from the board to have less parking onsite than code requires. Though on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, they delayed until next month.
Developer Mark Ciborowski, whose plans to build retail, several floors of apartments and a rooftop bar on North Main Street were narrowly denied by the board in December, applied to get a rehearing for his case.
The proposed building is 8feet taller than the 80-foot height maximum for its zone downtown and partially blocks views of the State House dome from parts of the interstate, against city ordinances. Ciborowski was unable to cut the top floor from the proposal, he said, because it would make the project financially unviable.
The zoning board grants rehearings in situations where new information becomes available or if its original decision went against proper procedure or law. To get an exception from a zoning ordinance, applicants need to show how compliance would be a hardship. One reasoning cited by board members who voted to deny was that a hardship argument couldn’t be rooted in finances. The board deferred a decision on the rehearing request to March so it could get counsel on whether that reasoning is legally sound.
The project is at the site of the former Phenix Hotel, which burned down in the 1950s, and next door to Phenix Hall, the former banquet area for the hotel which Ciborowski also owns. The site is currently occupied by a vacant CVS.