2009: Did "The Monarch" Rule?
"The Monarch" at 400 East Front Street has a senior center and veterans' center at ground level and 63 condos on three floors above. Developer Glen Fishman received the city-owned site for $1 and promised to create the senior and veterans' spaces at no cost to the city.
But since the deal was cut, the developer missed three stated deadlines for completion. As the 2009 primary loomed, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs turned up the heat and managed to garner a one-day opening in May, just before the June primary, which she won.
The senior center opened for good in November, but a Veterans' Day celebration took place outside the building, with a reception in the Senior Center space. The Veterans' Center opening is tied to completion of sales of the condos. In May, only eight had been sold, and later accounts still left many unsold.
No current sales number has been announced, nor has there been any public announcement on resolution of a parking issue for the development, which won approval with just 1.5 parking spaces for each two-bedroom condo.
Meanwhile, the company's bid for a tax abatement that would have left condo owners paying just 40 percent of city taxes was dismissed by the governing body.
"The Monarch" was billed as the bellwether for future condo development, but so far nothing has come about to prove the theory.
There have been other proposals that received approvals, including several from Landmark Development and Paramount Assets, mainly for apartments in the downtown district, and with no parking for residents except at public lots.
For other projects proposed over the past four years, i.e. Omnipointe, four transit villages, Capodagli, Maxim, Heartstone, Arlington Heights, the Marino's tract, Downtown Station South, Front Street Redevelopment Area, Roosevelt Avenue, Block 316, the UCIA endorsed North Avenue project and the East Third and Richmond proposal, never mind.