Second tower for Stevens Square development

A proposal from Gateway Commons to develop at the former Abbott Hospital (City of Lakes Care Center) site, 110 E. 18th St. could add a second tower to the Stevens Square area. The City of Lakes project was presented to the Stevens Square Community Organization (SSCO) Oct. 13.

The project would redevelop the currently vacant hospital in two stages. First, the building’s original 1910 portion would be converted into a 12-unit apartment complex. Then, later additions that span East 18th Street & Stevens Avenue will be torn down to make way for a four-story, 83-unit apartment building.

An addition lining 1st Avenue will contain 23 stories or 199 units. There will also be 177 underground parking spaces. The side facing Stevens Square will refer to the neighborhood’s historic architecture, while the part jutting out toward downtown would display mostly glass, developer Swami Palanisami said.

The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) approved several components of the project Oct. 25. That includes demolition of the building’s nonhistoric portions, the new construction proposed for 18th Street & Stevens Avenue and rehabilitation of the Abbott Hospital.

The HPC rejected demolition of the historic Janney building and the construction of a 23-story tower on the site.

The main question the development poses to community members is whether or not they want another tower in the neighborhood. How will it change the landscape? Some are more comfortable with the changes to L-shaped portion of the building, but the tower has stirred more controversy.

Right now, just two buildings stand at over four stories high in the area.

SSCO Chair Nadine Knibb spoke positively about the development since it would encourage density and spawn commercial growth. Others said they liked how the plan fused the old with the new.

Knibb cautioned that Stevens Square is committed to creating affordable housing opportunities.

Gateway Commons will return to the neighborhood with plans that are further along in the planning process.