The team readying to develop the 4.3-acre so-called Mason Row large-scale mixed-use project at the northeastern intersection of W. Broad and N. West St. updated some revisions to their plans in front of the F.C Planning Commission Monday night that included a request for a small zoning variance to allow for an expanded space in the project for a motion picture theater complex. “All four theater applicants share the need” for a “theater box expanded by 10 feet,” said attorney David Lasso speaking on behalf of the development group.
Plan changes include moving the multi-screen theater complex from underground to above ground and in the center of the project. To accommodate the newly-centralized role of the complex in the project, and for other reasons, the number of residential units is being reduced from 340 to 299, a 5.3 percent reduction, and the removal of a floor in the building on N. West, and another floor off the building at Park and Mason (the project’s new internal street). Parking that was above grade will be moved into the below grade space originally designated for the theater complex.
A five-man team representing the project, including Lasso, John Caldwell and Amirali Nasserian of Mill Creek and Peter Batten and Dick Buskell of Spectrum Development, was present to make its case to the commissioners.
Lasso noted that criteria for a zoning variance (which will eventually go to the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals for a ruling) has changed in state law from requiring a “hardship” be established to “whether or not a reasonable use is being precluded” by an existing zoning decision.
The Mason Row team also reiterated its voluntary concessions it has agreed to provide the City, including $1.8 million for the schools, $219,000 for the library, $25,000 for the arts and humanities council, $150,000 for City parks and $50,000 for post-development traffic studies for a total of $2.297,000. The project will dedicate 6 percent of all residential units for affordable housing at 60 percent of the regional income average, with three at 80 percent. It will put $20,000 to a bikeshare installation as well as bike racks and storage facilities.