By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HYDE PARK - Developers of a six-story retail, office and condominium complex on Hyde Park Square have gotten the green light for construction from the city despite protests from some residents that the proposed building is too big.
The city's environmental quality district approved a zoning variance and building permit for the "Michigan Terrace" project - a 75-foot-tall, 55,000-square-foot building at the site of the abandoned Shell gas station at Erie and Michigan avenues.
The development, proposed by Al Neyer Inc. and Lantrust Real Estate, would feature three stores on the first floor, offices on the second and 11 high-end condominiums on the top floors.
The Hyde Park Neighborhood Council voted in October to support the project - if the developers agreed to cut the building from six stories to four and move the front yard setback seven to 15 feet farther off Erie Avenue.
The city approved the project, keeping the height at six stories and increasing the front yard setback by three feet from 10 to 13.
Chris Knueven, director of multifamily and retail development for Al Neyer Inc., said he was pleased that "the merits of the development have been recognized publicly."
Lea Beck, president of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Council, said some residents are disappointed with the outcome. "There is a strong feeling among some of our residents that the city wasn't listening to them," Beck said.
Among those disappointed by the decision were the manager and tenants of the neighboring Hyde Park Medical Arts Building on Erie Avenue. They contend the multiuse project will likely increase traffic and parking problems and cut off the east end of the block from the rest of the square.
"You're destroying a 100-year-old history of having an open square," said Tim Hodory, whose family owns the Medical Arts Building. "This development is going to change Hyde Park forever in a very negative way."
Dr. Bruce Allen, whose offices are in the Medical Arts Building, said he doesn't believe the underground parking garage (66 spaces) promised by developers will be enough to accommodate visitors to the new complex.
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