Plans for a downtown bar on West Magnolia Avenue are back in motion, more than a year after the city approved the developer’s original proposal.
On Thursday, the Auburn Planning Commission approved a non-binding recommendation to the City Council for an amended conditional use approval for the Old Main, set to be located between the Sky Bar Cafe building and Pieology.
The look and purpose of the building have shifted since City Council approved the conditional use in January 2017. The latest design is close to 10 feet shorter than the original plans, standing at just under 38 feet rather than 47, and the building will no longer include an event center.
While designs for
Site plans show an alley as tight as 11 feet between buildings and 6 feet between the building and a fence. As City Council did last year, commissioners expressed concerns over potential safety risks in the alleyway, but building engineer Parker Lewis said they will try to adequately light the alley.
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With its designation as a lounge, if built, the Old Main will primarily serve alcohol and will join a strip staffed by bars Sky Bar and Bourbon Street.
However, neighborly relations over the past year have been anything but. The owner of the lot, Oak Tree Corner LLC, is currently embroiled in legal conflict with the owners of the Bourbon building and Stamp over a fence put up around the perimeter of the land last summer.
Robert Fucci, owner of the building that houses Bourbon, and Joseph Wilkinson, owner of Stamp, filed suit against Oak Tree Corner in July 2017, claiming the fence blocked an easement area in the rear of the businesses, harming their business.
In the suit, Fucci said the fence led to a reduction in maximum occupancy at Bourbon from 398 people to 49. Oak Tree Corner was ordered by the Lee County Circuit Court to move the fence back later that month.
Oak Tree Corner was also sued by original architect SR&F in December, claiming to be owed over $100,000 for its work, however, the building's owners claim negligence from SR&F is partly to blame for the abandonment of the original project.
Both suits against Oak Tree Corner are ongoing.
City Council will have to approve the amended use plans before construction can begin.