COLORADO AVE — A developer’s plan for a five-story office building on Colorado Avenue has drawn criticism from a Sunset Park neighborhood group over traffic concerns, despite the property owner’s claim the project is a net community benefit.
The Friends of Sunset Park expressed their opposition to the proposed 154,000-square-foot project at 2834 Colorado Ave. in a comment on the development’s Environmental Impact Report submitted to City Hall this week.
Zina Josephs, president of the Sunset Park group, said the project would create nearly 1,800 new daily car trips after completion, adding congestion to an area where additional development is proposed and traffic is already a problem.
“When we see a one-story place being replaced by a five-story, that’s not a little bit of development, that’s a lot of development,” she said. “It just seems out of proportion and it makes our lives harder because we can’t get anyplace.”
But Jack Walter, the managing partner of the group that owns the site, said the developers are committed to mitigating traffic impacts through a “traffic demand management program” that would involve giving workers incentives to take mass transit, distributing bus tokens, promoting carpooling and donating to the Big Blue Bus.
He also said the developers are offering significant community improvements, such as a 5,000-square-foot affordable day care facility and a new road to improve emergency responders’ access to the site.
The proposed project, which would be occupied by an entertainment company, quite possibly Lionsgate, would replace a high-vacancy industrial building that is a blight on the area, Walter said.
“It’s a death trap, a fire trap — it’s a complete eyesore,” he said of the current building, which houses several light manufacturing companies. “[Our project] will bring great design and great amenities to the area.”
To move forward, the project still needs to pass through the Planning Commission and receive final approval from the City Council. No hearings on the project have been scheduled.
David Martin, City Hall’s deputy director of planning and community development, declined to respond specifically to the Sunset Park group’s criticisms, saying a consultant still needs to respond to comments on the EIR.
He declined to comment on traffic concerns in the eastern part of the city, saying, “We have to look at each project on its merits.”