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Office building planned on 35th Street, pending rezoning

Friday, November 5, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

A defunct Burger King on 35th Street looks set to be torn down and replaced with an office building, should City Council approve a rezoning request. The project, located at 3427 Jefferson and 1615 W. 35th streets, will have 36,000 square feet of office space and 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Before the project can move along, developer Manifold Real Estate seeks to rezone the 0.16-acre Jefferson parcel from Neighborhood Commercial (LR) to the more intense Commercial Services (CS) zoning to increase the building size by approximately 5,800 square feet. The rest of the 0.46-acre site already has CS zoning.

On Oct. 26, the Planning Commission voted 12-1 to recommend the rezoning to Council. While commissioners saw little wrong with the request, neighbors from Bryker Woods had a different view. Those who spoke at the meeting said that the proposed building is too tall and that the increased traffic will make neighborhood streets unsafe, especially for kids. 

“This building is too much,” said Michael Curry, representing the Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association. “The neighborhood plan talks about small office buildings and converted homes there, not an office tower.” The building as proposed is mostly three stories except for a small four-story section along 35th Street. 

In terms of traffic, Michele Rogerson Lynch, representing the developer, said that the project would generate 500 daily car trips – around half the number of the former Burger King.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Curry thought the estimate of 1,000 trips for the Burger King was laughable. “If you looked at the Burger King lot, you’re as likely to see a tumbleweed … as you are a car,” he said. 

Lynch countered that the many uses allowed under existing zoning would generate more trips than the proposed office. “Another use more popular than a Burger King could go here and make worse traffic,” Lynch said. 

Curry was also concerned about future rezonings. “Let’s not create the precedent of marching CS zoning down the block, because you’ll bust that block,” Curry said. “And that block represents the buffer between commercial on 35th and the neighborhood.”

Neighbors will have one final chance to fight the rezoning on Nov. 18, when Council takes up the case. Should Council approve the rezoning, the project is scheduled to start late next year and finish in early 2024.

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