ARIZONA AVE — Developers will present council with two options for the proposed development along Arizona Ave. between Fourth and Fifth streets at the June 10 council meeting.

City planners are recommending that council provide direction as to “which scenario should serve as the basis for continued outreach and dialogue.”

In December, council selected Metropolitan Pacific Capital, Clarett West, and DJL West Capital to develop the site that runs along Arizona Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets.

At the time they’d presented a 148-foot tall project that includes four levels stacked on top of one another like precarious Jenga blocks. Each level has greenspace on its rooftop.

It includes 96 rental units, 225 hotel rooms, 172,000 square feet of office space, and 52,000 square feet of retail.

In selecting Metro Pacific as the developer, council also asked the team to create an 84-foot-tall design, consistent with the height limits in the draft of the Downtown Specific Plan, which, once approved, will dictate land-uses Downtown.

The height reduction would result in a reconfiguration of the design and the total building square footage of the project would drop from 420,000 to 337,000.

Developers presented the shorter project alternative at a public meeting last month. They noted that the taller project provides more community benefits. Half of the proposed affordable housing units would be removed in the shorter plan.

The hotel would lose rooms and some of its iconic views and would therefore generate less revenue, resulting in a cut to the open space budget.

Public open space would drop from 43,650 square feet to 22,384 square feet.

There would be fewer parking spaces and a reduction in hotel jobs.

The taller project would generate an estimated $1.3 million from its annual ground lease versus $500,000 for the shorter project.

The annual estimated tax revenue of $6 million would be cut in half.

Development has been an issue in the city by the sea, of late. Many residents opposed the Bergamot Transit Village project proposed for the east side of the city. Council approved an agreement with the Texas-based developer Hines but residents gathered enough signatures to put the agreement on ice. Council ultimately decided to rescind its agreement.

At the presentation last month, some residents were critical of the taller project but, in comparison to previous development meetings, were relatively reserved.

The project is still in the early phases — it will have to work its way through the Planning Commission and the Architecture Review Board before coming back to council for approval — but Tuesday’s meeting could impact its direction, with council favoring one of the two alternatives.

At the earliest construction would begin in 2017, city officials said.

dave@smdp.com

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