Mixed-use Community Development Project Moves Ahead

PLACE—short for Projects Linking Art, Community and Environment (full name PLACE E-Generation One, LLC)—is the nonprofit organization behind the mixed-use community development project called Via that is proposed for the former McGarvey coffee factory site at 5725 Highway 7. The goals of the project-partnership are to create a space with both affordable housing and workspace for creatives in the community, as well as access to the larger metro area with its proximity to the proposed Southwest light rail line, and a sustainable transit-oriented development.

Despite some concerns with traffic generation as well as the hotel included in the plans, city planning and zoning supervisor Sean Walther says the community has been very receptive to the project. “It’s very closely aligned with not only the longer-range use and development plans for this area,” says Walther, “but also with the city’s vision to be a leader in environmental sustainability, to provide more housing choices, to promote arts and community aesthetics and to be a more walkable community.”

In the past year, the project has had to make some alterations in the face of traffic analyses and community concerns as it has undergone the process of application approvals from the city. On May 1, the City Council approved the development and the project is aiming for completion by the end of 2018.

According to the PLACE website (welcometoplace.org), the project aims to provide affordable housing for “people across the income spectrum” and affordable commercial and storefront space for local businesses, all within throwing distance of public transit, in line with the organization’s goal to create a “car-free living” space.