Whittier condo project gets support but goes back to drawing board

Sabaka Design’s David Sabaka and Poseidon Companies’ Mike Kohler presented their proposal for an 11-unit condo at 2807-09 Pillsbury Ave. to the Whittier Alliance Community Issues Committee on Nov. 14.

The Alliance approved a motion for a letter of support for the project from the neighborhood and a conditional-use permit allowing it to have more than five units. They also voted to deny the site plan and asked Sabaka and Kohler to return with another draft of their proposal.

The plan is still in its beginning stages: It hasn’t yet been approved by the City Council, and Sabaka and Kohler still need to acquire the two lots from the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development.

Sabaka and Kohler had refined plans since the last time they brought the proposal to the community in September. The condo will look like a contemporary brownstone, with a warm brick exterior, decorative stone inlay and sky gardens on the third floor. The developers commissioned a local artist to produce the sandblasted design for the stone inlay that will hang above the front entrance. The two-bedroom units will all have three floors.

One of the changes they’d made since the project was last presented was to replace one residential unit with a parking ramp.

Sabaka said the project would help alleviate some concerns about crime in the alley alongside the building by adding lighting and attracting regular traffic.

Some community members expressed their concerns about how a condo would affect the dense block, which is already short on parking. At least one community member said that the building didn’t contribute anything new to the neighborhood, adding that it showed a bias toward first-time homebuyers and empty nesters.

Still, others approved of the design and looked forward to further development.