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  • Writer's pictureAndre Watson

Opposition to Painted Bride redevelopment remains, despite revised plan for mixed-use project

A rendering of the proposed development at 230-36 Vine St. shows the restaurant roof deck on the left and the roof deck for residents on the right.

The latest proposal to turn the Painted Bride into a mixed-use development was met with pushback from neighborhood stakeholders during a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing on Wednesday.

Revised plans for the property at 230-236 Vine St. call for 85 short-term residences, a ground-floor restaurant, underground parking and two roof decks — one for the residences and one for the restaurant. The roof deck was the reason for developer Atrium Design Group's appearance in front of the Zoning Board and was also the main point of contention.

At the hearing, four neighborhood property owners said they worry the primarily residential northern section of Old City would be disrupted by a new restaurant and rooftop dining area. They expressed concerns about noise, late hours, traffic and the size and capacity of the roof decks.

A rendering of the proposed restaurant roof deck.

It's the latest in a years-long back-and-forth at the historic Old City building. A number of different plans have previously surfaced, including 16 luxury townhomes, a 74-unit apartment building, and most recently in February, 110 short-term rental residences.

Architect Shimi Zakin's Atrium Design Group bought the property known for its mosaic façade for $3.85 million in a deal that closed just over a year ago.

The proposed U-shaped building would stand five floors and span 67,690 square feet, including 4,800 square feet of first-floor commercial space, with a courtyard in the middle.

The developer has signed a lease with Sonder hospitality group, which would run the short-term rentals. The 30 parking spots underground would be open to the public and run by a third party. While some neighborhood members have begun to shift their opinion on the project, others haven't.

A rendering of the proposed development at 230-36 Vine St.

Robert Gurmankin, president of the Franklin Bridge North Neighbors Registered Community Organization, said that in a vote earlier this year, members of the organization were "uniformly opposed" to the earlier plans for 110 units and no underground parking.

However, the revised plans with fewer units and more parking were brought in front of the members in May and the vote was too close to take a solid position. Still, Gurmankin voiced opposition to the restaurant roof deck. So too did the owner of the nearby Chocolate Works apartment development and two people who own multiple properties in the immediate surrounding area.

"The use is unacceptable and inappropriate for what is primarily a residential neighborhood,” said Jeff Reinhold, who owns the Chocolate Works.

Ori Feibush, the owner of OCF Realty, supported the project. He is building 11 townhomes at 244 N. 2nd St. and said his residents will look directly at the proposed building on Vine Street.

"This is something our community absolutely needs," Feibush said. "It's absolutely something that would be welcome and my residences would be impacted, and I think positively impacted."

The City Planning Commission recommended no change to the proposal and recommended that the Zoning Board grant approval for the non-accessory roof deck.

The Painted Bride sits at 230-36 Vine St. in Old City.

Richard Pressman, the attorney representing Zakin and Atrium, asked for the Zoning Board to hold the appeal in abeyance as the developer still needs an amended referral from the Department of Licensing and Inspections due to the revised plans.

The saga of the Painted Bride dates back six years. The 14,213-square-foot building originally came up for sale in November 2017. Two previous attempts to purchase the property were thwarted — one by a tech company in 2018 and again by Zakin's Atrium Design Group, who at the time proposed preserving the façade and building on top of it.

After finally closing on the property in April 2022, Zakin's new plan will include demolishing the Painted Bride.

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