The Winston-Salem City Council approved a request to rezone property on Trade and Eighth streets for a variety of possible Entertainment District uses on Monday, accepting compromise proposals meant to keep the area pedestrian-friendly.
In a separate case tackled by the council on Monday, a proposed coffee shop near the intersection of Reynolda Road and West End Boulevard got relief from regulations that would have otherwise forced the shop to provide 18 parking spaces.
“We are dealing with the success and the revitalization of the area,” Northwest Ward Council Member Jeff MacIntosh said, after making the motion to approve the parking relief request after a special use permit hearing. “Overall I think this will be a favorable addition to the neighborhood.”
The Trade Street property is the Comb’s Produce Co. warehouse at 850 N. Trade. Street. The property is owned by IH850 Trade LLC, one of businessman Hank Perkins’ companies. That company and another Perkins concern, Industry Hill Properties LLC, asked for the rezoning granted Monday to change the space from industrial to entertainment district uses.
The site stretches between Oak to Trade streets along Eighth Street. Entertainment district zoning includes a wide variety of uses, from retail to residential.
Drew Gerstmyer, one of the other principals of Industry Hill Properties, told the City-County Planning Board on June 11 that there was no particular plan for the property, but that multiple uses were included in the request to keep flexibility at a maximum.
Part of that flexibility had initially included the possibility of a convenience store or drive-through restaurant, but concerns over what that would do to the pedestrian-friendly character of the growing entertainment district prompted a 5-4 vote on the planning board to recommend rejection of the rezoning.
The compromise language that won approval for the rezoning on Monday cuts out the possibility of a convenience store. While a drive-through restaurant remains allowable, there are provisions that would keep the restaurant drive-through lanes away from the corner of Trade and Eighth.
Architect Doug Stimmel, speaking for the developers, was asked Monday whether the existing warehouse would be torn down or remain, but replied that that had not yet been decided.
“When a defined use comes, then the building could be removed,” Stimmel said. Stimmel did say that the developers have spent about $24 million developing other parts of the Industry Hill area, and that they’re hoping to draw another $55 million into the area over the next 36 months.
John Kleindinst, a resident of Oak Street Condominiums who spoke against the rezoning on June 11 because of the convenience-store and drive-through concerns, spoke in opposition again Monday, but seemed mostly satisfied with the compromise.
Noting that he had not had a chance to see the latest compromise wording, Kleindinst said that while he’d still rather a drive-through restaurant not go in, he would trust the city’s protections to keep the area friendly for walkers.
Another Oak Street resident, Michael Feudale, said he was looking forward to new businesses opening the area.
The parking case involves the property at 492 West End Boulevard, near Joymongers Barrel Hall and formerly occupied by Mock Orange Bikes.
Camel City Commercial LLC, which owns the building and filed the rezoning request, asked the city for relief from the requirement that it provide 18 parking spaces, when the site has only two parking spaces now.
The planning board on June 11 unanimously found that the site meets requirements of the zoning ordinance, but sent on to the city council that part of the request dealing with the parking issue.
Aaron King, the director of city-county planning, said a tally found 158 existing on-street parking spaces in the general area.
Burgess Jenkins, the manager of Camel City Commercial, said that while the numbers show “ample parking in the area,” he hopes some of it won’t be needed for his business.
“We expect and hope that a great number of customers will be pedestrians and bike riders,” he said.
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