Kaufman Development is returning to the Victorian Village Commission this week with a new plan for the former International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) site at 23 W. Second Ave.
The site – which also encompasses a large parking lot and an empty field – sits just west of High Street, between Second and Price avenues.
The project’s return to the commission marks a continuation of a two-year saga in which the local developer tried to get a workable plan for the site approved. Kaufman purchased the land in 2016 and returned several times with different design iterations, responding to concerns raised by some neighbors and commissioners about its size.
Although one of those designs – which called for a building that topped out at nine stories – was approved by the commission, Kaufman later came back with more changes, citing rising construction costs and financing issues. Six months later, the project was officially on hold, and in late 2018 the site was listed for sale.
The latest plan calls for a shorter building with a smaller footprint. Most of the existing IBEW building will be preserved and used as a restaurant or retail space (previous plans called for a significant portion of it to be demolished). The main building will top out at seven stories tall (or 89 feet) and be served by a two-story parking garage with access from both Price and Second.
Brett Kaufman, CEO of Kaufman Development, provided the following statement to CU when asked about the latest proposal and the decision to come back to the commission with a new plan:
Obviously, this is an amazing neighborhood, and people are passionate about how it’s going to grow. That includes us, as we’ve housed our headquarters here since launching over ten years ago. We love this city, we love the Short North, and we want to build something meaningful here. We heard a lot of feedback on our first proposal, so we went back to the drawing board and reconsidered how we could add the most value. What we’ve dreamed up is an eco-sustainable community centered around wellness. It will offer programming, events and amenities focused on well-being — yoga, meditation, and an extensive wellness and recovery spa.
The Victorian Village Commission meets on February 12 at 6 p.m. at 111 N. Front St.