The proposal outlined a 57-unit, four-story complex built over the municipal parking lot adjacent to the current Glen Courts complex, which committee members stressed would not negatively impact downtown parking.
Over the years since a survey of borough seniors overwhelmingly indicated a desire for additional rental options, the committee has considered but ultimately dismissed three other possible locations: Demarest Park, a section of the Main Line parking lot, and 175 Rock Road, behind CVS.
A priority for the committee was keeping the complex close to the downtown without producing a negative impact on either nearby residences or parking conditions in the central business district.
Committee Chair Robert Bourne said that they have done just that with “Glen Courts II,” providing a plan to maintain parking in the municipal lot with three stories of apartments to be constructed above. Residents of the complex would park in the Main Line train station with a shuttle running to and from the apartments, leaving the lot below available for patrons of downtown merchants.
“The intention with everything planned is not to impede the merchants by as much as one parking spot,” Bourne told the council.
The committee had discussed a complex rising up to five or six stories, which could potentially have accommodated a parking deck at the site, Bourne said Monday night, but borough officials requested that the building’s height be scaled back.
Mayor John van Keuren told Patch that the proposal was brought down in size to conform to borough zoning requirements and “maintain the existing appearance of the central business district.”
Bourne suggested that downsizing the proposal any further would leave too few units to keep the project financially viable, as rents – now projected around $1,700 a month – “would start to get out of hand.”
While creating less units than the 80 in the current Glen Courts complex and originally intentended by the committee for the second complex, the proposal outlined larger units: 745 square feet for the two bedroom apartments in the new complex compared to a range of 550-623 in Glen Courts.
Bourne said that according to the results of the survey, borough seniors desired the larger space.
The committee is seeking to fund the project through a bond issue, as was done to construct Glen Courts, and begin construction in 2015.
Although the plans presented
were preliminary, Bourne told the council that the committee soon needed a
commitment to fund design, architectural and engineering work in preparation
for the project, so that “trains can leave the station,” as he put it.
Van Keuren suggested that the council could make a decision as early as next month.
“The council has to take some time to reflect on this and call you back,” he said.