An Inconvenience Store Truth

 Atwood BP station wants to sell beer, neighbors say prior problems not yet solved

BP Gas Station owned by Lake Management, LLC. It was once a Clark station and the corner suffered from crime and drug activity.

BP Gas Station operated by Lake Management, LLC. It was once a Clark station and the corner suffered from crime and drug activity.

City officials are weighing issues of fairness regarding a business owner’s right to sell beer against neighbor’s objections due to a history of problems on the property and a present day problem of public intoxication at a nearby park. The proprietor, Lake Management, LLC., runs the BP Gas Station  at 2801 Atwood Avenue and has managed to have a conditional use restriction regarding alcohol lifted, but faces a tougher road at the Alcohol Licensing Review Committee.

In 2005, it was known as the Clark station and was home to occasional sketchy activity. There were periodic armed robberies, occasional drug activity and other recurring incidents that began to affect the residential properties nearby. Late that year, Murthy Polasa and Kuldip Singh Mavi, of M & J Petroleum, LLC., purchased the property and proposed tearing down the structure and building a new convenience store along with the gas station under the BP Brand.

The new store was a hard sell to the neighborhood, especially to the immediate neighbors. After numerous neighborhood meetings the project was allowed to go forward with promises from Polasa and Mavi of no alcohol sales and that the atmosphere at the property would improve. Judy Olson, the District 6 Alder at the time, lobbied the Plan Commission to place a conditional use restriction on the property that no alcohol sales would be allowed.

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My Fair Willy

36th Annual Willy Street Fair prepares to make us happy to be neighbors

Courtesy: David Michael Miller

Have you got time for one last summer festival? The Willy Street Fair will straddle the Autumnal Equinox this year with sunny and 65 predicted for Saturday September 21 and Sunday September 22, the first day of fall.

The fair is a major fundraiser for Common Wealth Development and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center. Common Wealth Development and the neighborhood at large have gotten pretty good at putting on this event. The food and retail vendors are more numerous, the music stages highly coordinated and more spophisticated, but the inclusive soul of the neighborhood still shines through.

Maybe its just me who has noticed this but, now fair Saturday is named as “The Willy St. Warm-up” and the actual fair is Sunday. Don’t be confused by these marketing semantics, there will be music, fun, dancing, and food each day, all day.

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MNA Establishes 722 Willy Working Group

Subcommittee formed to work with developer to resolve concerns

A view of the north side of the proposed development at 722 Williamson Street.

A view of the north side of the proposed development at 722 Williamson Street.

The one clear fact that emerged from the Marquette Neighborhood Association Preservation & Development Committee (MNA P&D) meeting today (September 18) is that the proposed development at 722 Williamson Street is the first true test of the Williamson Street 600 to 1100 Blocks Better Urban Infill Development (BUILD) Program II plan which was launched 10 years ago.

From the beginning its was apparent the two hours allotted for this monthly meeting would not be enough to deeply discuss the many aspects of the proposal by Baldwin Development Group (BDG) and make a recommendation to the MNA Board that would properly represent the wishes of the neighborhood.

Early on, it was proposed that a subcommittee be formed to meet with BDG on a frequent basis to present the issues raised by the neighborhood and offer guidance as BDG further refines their design in advance of the upcoming City approval processes such as the Urban Design Commission (UDC), which is the next stop for this project.

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Interviewing Wild Orangutans

Marquette neighborhood grapples with proposed development at 722 Willy Street

An architectual rendering of the proposed development "722 Williamson". Courtesy: Baldwin Development Group

An architectual rendering of the proposed development “722 Williamson”. Courtesy: Baldwin Development Group

Neighborhood planning covenants are playing into the debate over a large mixed-use development proposed for the 700 block of Williamson Street which would fill in the parking lots between and behind Ground Zero Coffee and the Olds building, possibly reaching ten stories into the air.

Baldwin Development Group wants to build a $46-million retail and housing complex on property owned by Williamson Associates, LLC, an entity of the The Rifkin Group, which also owns three other buildings on the block. The three-tiered design, currently named “722 Williamson”, would feature retail and office space along Williamson with seven- and ten-story apartment towers deeper into the property.

The proposal is drawing mixed reactions from the neighborhood, with some hailing its design and density and others bristling that the towering building exceeds the Williamson Street 600 to 1100 Blocks Better Urban Infill Development (BUILD) Program II plan, which seeks to preserve the historic character of the street. District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel says the development would include approximately 220 apartments, 5,600 square feet of commercial space, 386 parking stalls and co-working space.

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