In a Board of Adjustment meeting Thursday, Riverfront Brio, an affiliate of Gulfstream Commercial Services, received unanimous approval for a 15-story building to house a new hotel, apartments and parking structure in downtown Owensboro.
“I would say the board was in favor of the decision and saw merit in the proposal,” said Brian Howard, executive director of Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Commission.
This decision came after the Historic Preservation Board heard from Ed Ray, chief operating officer of Gulfstream Commercial Services, last month when he asked the board for a variance on the height limitation for that zone of the downtown development district as outlined under Article 21.
“We need to be able to go vertical on that block,” Ray told the Historic Preservation Board last month. “The number of apartments, as well as the number of hotel rooms, puts us between 12 and 15 stories on the block.”
The site, at the corner of Second and Cedar Streets, is currently made up of eight lots. The northern half of the block sits in the downtown core zone with a 4-story height limitation and the southern half sits in the downtown transitional zone with a 6-story height limitation.
“A condition on the variance approval Thursday was rezoning all of the properties to B-2 Central Business, but that has not been submitted yet,” Howard said.
Ray was present at the meeting Thursday representing the applicant. He didn’t go into detail regarding the future of the development.
“The next step would be to fully engage into the design process,” Ray told Owensboro Times. “We needed to understand that we could go higher than the maximum allowed under Article 21 before we invested into the design side of this project.”
Estimated to cost upwards of $40 million, Riverfront Brio will add more residential space downtown, which is outlined in the downtown master plan and is the mayor’s main initiative of 2019.
The project is expected to add 160 to 200 apartments of various sizes. Ray said Riverfront Brio is currently studying the need for studio, two- and three bedroom units. The proposed apartment building would be 12 to 15 stories and the parking garage to compliment the units would be five stories, adding approximately 474 spaces. The hotel is estimated to be seven stories and 120 rooms.