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Zoning board advances mixed-use proposal

Developer hopes to create business sites with residential lofts in Downtown Edwardsville

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Journal news service

The Zoning Board of Appeals recommended approval Monday evening for several changes needed to create a mixed-use development in Downtown Edwardsville.

Joseph E. Meyer presented his vision for Parkside Place, a $7 million project that would redevelop three sites along Buchanan Street for use as retail and loft space.

Each of the three sites would have retail space on the first floor of the building and loft apartments, which average 1,100 square feet, on the second floor.

Most of the property is zoned for business use, but Meyer sought special-use permits to allow the residential use on the second story of each building.

Meyer said Edwardsville had a lot to be proud of, but when visitors approach the busy intersection of East Vandalia and Buchanan streets, they are greeted by a vacant gas station and an under-utilized plaza.

"It's kind of like a quilt," Meyer said. "If you fly over Edwardsville, you see all these squares of property. If one of those patches starts to fray, it deteriorates the patches around it."

Two of the three sites in the plan are at the intersection of Buchanan and East Vandalia streets.

The plan proposes a two-story building at the northwest corner of the intersection where the old Amoco station used to be. The property has been vacant for several years.

On the southeast corner of the intersection, a two-story building would be connected to the north end of the existing CVS pharmacy, and the pharmacy's exterior would be updated. The other retail space in the plaza is vacant.

Just south of the pharmacy is the third site, the former PK's restaurant, which closed three years ago. The restaurant, as well as the house just behind it, would make way for another two-story, mixed-use building.

"The idea is to carry the theme all the way around the corner," Meyer explained.

The house is the only property zoned residential. The zoning board recommended that property be rezoned for business use and also recommended a special-use permit be granted to allow the residential use on the second floor.

Steve Mudge, whose law firm neighbors the vacant Amoco station, spoke in favor of the development.

"Right now, this is an eyesore to us," he said. "I'm happy to see someone willing to invest."

Meyer said the project would take about 15 months to complete and could begin as soon as approval was granted by the Edwardsville City Council.

The board also recommended approval for a variance that would reduce the amount of required parking for the development by no more than 15 percent.

The development would be directly across from City Park. Board member Harold Patton pointed out that residents often use the current parking lot for city events and wondered whether there would be ample space to accommodate customers, residents and event-goers.

Meyer said park parking was considered and welcomed, as was parking for St. Boniface Catholic Church.

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