The height of the proposed development remains in question.
A few years ago, East Washington Avenue, often considered the gateway to the city, was a relatively empty and unremarkable street.
Rebecca Cuningham, an eight-year resident of the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood says new residential and commercial space is good for the neighborhood, as long as the developers take into account the concerns of area residents.
"I think that good development is better as long as [the residents] have a little bit of say." Cuningham says. "It was strange for [East Washington Avenue] to be empty."
Residents got a first look at yet one more development proposal in the suddenly bustling corridor Tuesday night at a neighborhood meeting. McGrath Property Group proposes building a mixed-use development in the 1200 block of East Washington Avenue.
The building will include between 70 and 80 units of residential space and some commercial space, Lance McGrath president of McGrath Property Group, told the neighborhood meeting. McGrath said his team is flexible on how tall the building should be, but is aiming for a four-story structure that will include approximately 75 underground parking stalls.
The development would require the demolition of two of the existing buildings on the site; American Automotive and Mad Motors. McGrath hopes to preserve a third building, Patriot Glass, that's on the property but he will need approval to build a four-story building to do so.
If the project is limited to three stories, McGrath said he would tear down the Patriot Glass building to have enough room for the number of proposed units, McGrath said.
But a four-story structure concerned many residents at the meeting, who feared it would cast a significant shadow on the homes around it.
McGrath says his team will soon do a shadow study to predict how surrounding homes would be affected by the building. "I think the [shadows] won't be as dramatic as [everyone] thinks," McGrath adds.
Residents also worried that parking will be a problem for commercial businesses in the development because there are limited spaces in the neighborhood.
McGrath says parking demand will not be that high because the development will be designed to attract people on foot. With all the new development along East Washington, McGrath believes that in the next several years there will be a lot more foot traffic in the area.
"I am totally comfortable with the parking plan for this [building]." McGrath tells Isthmus. "I am less concerned about it than the residents."
Ideally, McGrath says he would also like to keep the market rate for units in the building below that of typical downtown market rates.
While it is expected that East Washington will continue to attract new developments, Ald. Ledell Zellers, who represents the neighborhood, says it is important to retain the character of the neighborhoods. "We have to be sensitive to the impacts to those neighborhoods because we want them to remain strong," she says.
Zellers says one resident made a good point about the future of the area as a whole. "I thought it was interesting the comment that if we don't build [the development] now with three to four stories, in a decade it will probably be eight or 10 stories," Zellers notes. "I think that's a legitimate observation."
The developers plan to submit their application for the project to the city in February. McGrath says if all goes well they would like to begin construction in May next year and have the building ready for occupancy by April 2016.