Developer Reduces Size of Cowper Street Project, Again

City Realty, the developer of a proposed condo project at 181 Cowper St., appeared before the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council last week after several previous meetings with the Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA).

Since their last presentation at last month’s HVNA meeting, City Realty has again scaled down the project and changed the overall design of the building.

Attorney for City Realty Matthew Eckel said the last time before the community his client was proposing 10 condo units in one large building with 16 parking spaces. At Monday’s OHNC meeting, Eckel said the number of units has been reduced to eight and the number of parking spaces would be 14.

The overall look of the building has changed as well. Instead of one large ‘box’ building, which abutters like Phil Brangiforte have complained about, the new architectural drawing shown at Monday night’s OHNC meeting depicted a ‘townhouse-style’ building that was broken up with different entrances and included more architectural details like a mansard roof.

The parking lot has also been reconfigured, and is no longer abutting the property next door. The lot has been moved to the other side of the proposed building and now abuts Constitution Beach. Residents had worried headlights and engine noise from cars pulling in and out of the open-air parking lot that would have had a negative effect on the quite street.

Again, neighbors like Brangiforte, who lives on Cowper Street, said the proposal would destroy the fabric of the dead end street.

“There are only 14 units on the street right now,” he said. “You want to almost double the amount of people living on the street.”

Brangiforte, who has been very vocal about his opposition to the project, asked again if the developer would consider an ‘as-of-right project’.

Eckel explained that an ‘as of right’ project would still allow the developer to build almost the exact same size building, but instead of eight units,¬† they could build six units. However, Eckel said the number of bedrooms in an ‘as-of-right’ project would rise dramatically with each unit probably containing three bedrooms for a total of 18 bedrooms.

City Realty originally proposed developing both 181 Cowper St., as well as 184 Cowper  St. across the street as one project. That project called for 32 units spread across two buildings totaling 43,625 sq. ft. of living space. That project also called for 41 parking spaces.

At previous community meetings, City Realty decided to take the development of 184 Cowper St. off the table and focus solely on 181 Cowper St.

City Realty previously planned to demolish the existing home at 181 Cowper St. on a 13,350 sq. ft. parcel of land and construct a four-story, 13 unit building with 19 underground parking spaces. The height of the building would have been 42 ft.

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