Mixed-use building project with rooftop restaurant gets second OK in Oxford

A project including a four-story, mixed-use building with 12-room hotel annex, residential dwelling units and a rooftop restaurant received a second approval from the Oxford City Council recently after the coronavirus pandemic stopped its progress.

The project was first approved in 2018 for a project on the former Mesler Motors property.

The property is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of South Beech and West Walnut streets.

“Due to the pandemic, the project got put on ice and we found ourselves with expired permits,” architect Scott Webb told Council. “It will be an annex to the Elms Hotel, not a stand-alone hotel.”

The site has a “fair amount of grade,” Webb said, adding people walking by on the sidewalk will not be looking into hotel room windows. The garage beneath the building will hold 12 vehicles.

“The proposed building and uses were found to be appropriate for the given location,” Community Development Director Sam Perry wrote in a staff report. “A large portion of the discussion revolved around the design of the below-grade parking garage. Staff had recommended eliminating one of the 12 parking spaces due to maneuverability and safety concerns in proximity to an egress doorway as well as providing a way for vehicles to simultaneously enter and exit the garage by either widening the ramp from West Walnut Street or providing a second ramp similar to the city parking garage configuration.”

That condition called for the first parking space to be designed and striped for a compact space to maintain one to two feet of space between the vehicle and the west wall of the garage.

Webb said the rooftop restaurant is proving popular with residents, who are looking forward to eating there.

“This building has been reviewed a lot in the past few years,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of interest in an Uptown rooftop restaurant. There will be a tremendous view from the roof.”

Council approved the conditional use on a 6-0 vote with Council Member Glenn Ellerbe absent from the meeting.

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