Marble Cliff Village Council gave the green light Aug. 20 for developers to move forward with their plans for a residential project for the property at 2015 W. Fifth Ave.

F2 Companies and Elford Development are proposing the Gateway at Marble Cliff, a multifamily development that would see the restoration of the 110-year-old mansion on the site back to residential use.

"We're still looking at putting four to six apartments in the mansion," Ted Foster of F2 Companies said.

The Frank Packard-designed building has been used as commercial space for decades.

The developers originally suggested they would need to demolish the mansion, but after council members and residents voiced opposition to the demolition, they changed their minds.

Foster outlined the proposed project's other components.

In addition to the apartments in the existing mansion, the development would include two three-story townhouse buildings facing Fifth Avenue.

The buildings would have a total of eight townhouse units.

A three-story apartment building containing 26 one- and two-bedroom units would be constructed behind the existing house.

Thirty-one garage parking spaces would be provided in the apartment building's basement. Each townhouse would have an attached two-car garage. Twenty-four surface parking spaces would provide additional parking for residents and visitors.

Council approved the concept plan for the development and a preliminary development plan and zoning text.

The documents are required as the first step in the process of approving a project under the village's planned development district zoning.

"The concept plan is really the documenting of what has been presented to council before," Mayor Kent Studebaker said. "By formally accepting the concept plan, we're starting the legislative process for council to have more details presented to them."

The developers plan to market the development to retired empty-nesters, especially those wishing to downsize their living arrangements but still reside in the Marble Cliff area.

That remains the anticipated market, "especially given all the unsolicited emails we've received from people interested in being residents" since the project was proposed, Foster said.

The preliminary development plan states the project would have no more than 40 units on site. The townhouse buildings along Fifth Avenue would be about 30 feet tall to the eaves and 40 feet tall to the ridge, measured at the north facade facing Fifth Avenue. The height of the apartment building would be about 42 feet to the eaves and 54 feet to the roof ridge along the south facade of the building. The apartment building height includes the garage level. It would diminish as the grade gets higher to the north and more of the garage will be recessed below grade.

The developers plan to demolish the rear addition to the existing house and a small apartment building on Arlington Avenue.

There is a possibility the current apartment building could be maintained, but details are not yet finalized, Foster said.

Any demolition would require village approval.

A site-plan review that will include a detailed architectural review and approval for each building also will be required.

A complete development schedule will be submitted as part of the site-plan review.

The preliminary development plan estimates the project will take about 18 to 20 months to complete once construction begins.

The approval of the concept plan and preliminary development plan doesn't mean the project ultimately will be approved, Studebaker said.

Council's action is saying, "we think this is something worth a deeper look," he said.

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