Planners OK Mission Square project

After 13 years of consideration, changes, resubmittals and further changes, the Mission Square project received an approved use permit and parking exception on a 4-2 vote Thursday night. Robert Felder and Gary Edwards voted “no.”

Architectural and site design was also generally approved, but one proposed building was sent to the Design Review Commission for approval, along with landscape and lighting plans.

“We have a tremendously-improved project before us,” said Chip Roberson, commission chairman. “At the end of the day, the owners want to be proud of this. The community had tremendous input and the owners have made major concessions,” he said. “Is it a design marvel? No. Is it an eyesore? No. Does it overwhelm or fight with what’s around it? No. Beauty is in the eye of beholder.”

Mission Square, at 165 E. Spain St., tucked in behind the historic Blue Wing Inn, will now be a mixed-use project consisting of 3,514 square feet of office space, 14 apartment units, and associated parking. It will be built on a site slightly larger than one acre, located on the south side of East Spain a half-block east of the Plaza. The mostly vacant site is occupied by the 1922 Pinelli bungalow, which will be rehabilitated.

The project began its journey in 2000 as a hotel, but the idea was dropped when it appeared to have little, if any, support from approving bodies or the public. The current project was submitted in 2005 as 5,700 square feet of commercial space and 23 apartments. Over time, it morphed into office space and a reduced number of apartments. On July 13, after three years of review, the project’s environmental impact report was certified.

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