Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Clifton builder outlines plan for funeral-home site

By Maggie Downs
Enquirer staff writer

CLIFTON - The former Anderson Baiter & Sahnd Funeral Home at 3412 Clifton Ave. will soon be demolished to make way for a restaurant and apartment building.

Clifton resident and developer Jack Brand, tape measure attached to his hip, rolled out plans for the property at Monday's Clifton Town Meeting, a gathering of more than 60 community members.

The four-story building will be brick, similar to the rest of the business district. The first floor will have a retail business, most likely a restaurant.

"I've been talking to both local and national restaurants," Brand said. "If we can put a local person in it, we will."

The three floors above it will be divided into 12 two-bedroom, handicapped-accessible apartments.

A parking lot with 51 spaces will be behind the building - 12 spots for residents, 39 for restaurant customers.

People at the meeting lobbed several questions at Brand, asking what would happen to a particularly large tree on the property.

"If we can limb it or leave it, we'll do it," Brand said. "But we're not going to carve out part of the building for it."

Residents were also concerned that the 5,000-square-foot building might dwarf surrounding structures.

"The scale of nearby churches will be disrupted," resident Ellen Bierhorst said.

Brand replied, "It'll be bigger than the funeral home, but it's to scale with every other apartment building in the area."

Friday, workers finished removing asbestos from the 100-year-old building. They also saved some fixtures, stained-glass windows and mirrors for use in the new building.

The demolition will begin any day, Brand said.

The custom builder has plans for another parcel of land, the Marion Rawson Estate, also on Clifton Avenue.

Brand plans to renovate the 1880 Victorian home, then build single-family homes on the remainder of the almost seven acres. His plans also call for a private drive off Middleton Avenue and small cul-de-sacs for the $600,000-$700,000 homes.

The 19th-century mansion will be restored, using much of the old woodwork and adding modern kitchen and bathroom facilities. A garage and laundry/mud room will be the only exterior changes.

"I'm going to put it back like it once was," Brand said.

The 12 homes will have a 2,000-foot first floor, including the master bedroom, plus a 600-foot garage. The partial second floor will contain two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Forty-eight percent of the land will be green space, divided into small lots for each house and large common areas.

The architecture will be different for each home.

"They're going to blend together and blend with the neighborhood, but they'll all be different houses," Brand said. "They won't be 12 houses stamped out."


E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com

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