The owners of a historic downtown block have submitted a development plan for the site, bringing them one step closer to fulfilling a community effort to preserve the property.
The plan does not actually propose any physical development yet. Instead, it outlines a major shift in development potential, concentrating thousands of square feet of retail space in one corner of the property and leaving the rest of the area essentially as is.
That exchange means the three historic cabins fronting East Broadway — Cafe Genevieve, Persephone Bakery and Healthy Being Juicery — along with the green space around them, will remain more or less in their current state.
Under the proposed development plan, the northwest corner of the block will be allowed a maximum of 52,000 square feet of floor area, compared to the roughly 37,000 currently allowed. In turn, the owners will extinguish about 37,000 square feet of retail potential scattered around the other parts of the block.
This agreement would entail a large reduction in floor area for the lots housing the historic cabins. Under the current zoning they could all be redeveloped to about 8,500 square feet, but the development plan proposes to keep them to between 1,300 and 1,900. That’s just a few hundred additional square feet for each, beyond the existing structures.
The plan would also eliminate all development potential — 29,000 square feet — on the green space lot at the northeastern corner of the block.
“Overall, the total amount of habitable floor area that is contemplated with this Development Plan is significantly less than the amount of floor area that could be built on the site under the base zoning were the site to be scraped and redeveloped,” according to a staff report on the plan, which will be presented tonight to the town Planning Commission.
The plan comes from an anonymous family, known only as Cafe G LLC, and Cirque Consulting. The family put the property under contract earlier this year, giving the community time to complete a massive fundraising campaign to purchase easements to protect the cabins and green space in perpetuity. After several months and about 5,500 donations, the effort ultimately succeeded in raising $7 million.
If the development plan is approved, the town of Jackson still has to approve a subdivision of the property into several lots. When all is said and done, the owners of the restaurants operating in the historic cabins will each purchase and steward their respective lots.