What may end up being the newest addition to Maryville downtown’s vibrant atmosphere of restaurants and businesses could see construction efforts begin in the coming months, pending some financial decisions.

The city’s Downtown Design Review Board has approved the West Broadway Avenue development of combined town home and retail space which is set to be built on a grassy area behind the Harper Avenue parking garage.

Board members voted unanimously Monday night to approve the three-story mixed-use structure design by Gary Best & Associates Architects.

Plans for the building show there will be retail and restaurant spaces on the first level and a total of six town homes on the second and third levels.

Gary Best, chair of the DDRB, and Harry McIntosh, a board member, both stepped down from the dais Monday as the remaining members heard planning staff’s assessment of the request and details about the design.

Best is the owner of the architectural firm managing the design and McIntosh is the building’s project lead for West Broadway Partners, a group chosen out of two applicants to tackle the project.

The only issue planning staff expressed was with the rear wall, which will be almost directly up against the garage wall now visible from West Broadway. Senior Planer Kelly Duggan said the material which is currently proposed to be synthetic needs to be changed to something compliant.

“We are backing up literally to the garage,” Best told the board from the podium. “The whole concept for the city when they built the garage was for this to be developed at some point.”

He said the storefronts will follow the same design as existing, traditional storefronts and buildings on the city’s main thoroughfare.

For the town homes, he said they will be accessed from the parking garage, the highest point of which will match the height of the new building: only 40 feet tall, according to designs.

“Because the top of the parking garage is sloped, one of them will be so you can just walk right in,” Best said in an interview after the meeting. “The others will be a few steps up to an alcove that then goes into the units.”

“We’ve got several people interested in the condos,” McIntosh said to board members.

Six months to complete but no start date

And the retail spaces on the first level?

McIntosh also said they have discussed the spaces with some restaurants and businesses that may want to use the retail space.

But before the WB Partners team can commit to anything, they have financial details to work out.

“We’re still getting our cost estimates so we can’t get anyone a rental rate or a price yet,” McIntosh. “So we’re basically just taking names right now.”

Best told members construction on the project could take around six months to complete once it gets started and McIntosh said it could be several months before financial details are smoothed over and construction plans are put into place.

When construction does eventually start, crews working in the area may clash with traffic moving through the already tight area.

“We’re going to minimize closures as much as we can,” said McIntosh after the meeting. “It’s ultimately going to be up to the contractor, but there are two spots in front of the old Tomato Head (restaurant). We’re hoping that we can work from there.”

However, there may be times when crews are pumping concrete that part of the road will be shut down.

At that point, Public Services Director Angie Luckie confirmed the city will have to work through a permit to redirect traffic.

“What we hope is that only one lane will have to be closed,” Luckie said.

The development has not yet been through all of the city approval it needs to see the light of day.

City Planner Jordan Clark said the city’s Planning Commission will have to validate the DDRB’s approval. It will see the item in a Jan. 21 meeting.

“Assuming the Planning Commission validates the DDRB’s approval,” Clark added, “the developers would follow the city’s standard processes including site plan review, building plans review and obtaining all necessary permits.”

“We’re at a pretty critical juncture here, McIntosh said. “But we feel pretty positive about it.”

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