Auburn City Council approved the development agreement for Uncommon Auburn Tuesday night.
City Council plans to build on West Glenn Avenue across from Evolve Auburn. Preliminary plans show the building to be 316,661 square feet and 75 feet tall.
CA Student Living develops the new property. Other Uncommon locations recently opened in Oxford, Mississippi and Athens, Georgia.
The building plans include 10 floors, some of which will be underground, and retail space on the ground floor.
The Design Review Task Force has made their recommendations to the developer, and their response was what everyone hoped for.
"Everything the Design Review Committee has proposed the developer has accepted," said City Manager James Buston III. "We actually have a signed agreement from the developer saying that they will develop the architecture as it was proposed. They will develop the enhanced tree scape as it was proposed. They will develop the enhanced crossing and additional lighting on Toomer Street."
Buston thought the meetings with the developer went well, and the Design Review Task Force was a success.
"Everything that either the Design Review Committee or our staff asked them to do, they have agreed to do," Buston said.
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Lynda Tremaine, city councilwoman ward 5, wanted to know about the two-year sidewalk closures near Uncommon Auburn.
Buston assured Tremaine and the rest of the council that the sidewalk closures will not affect citizens too much.
A crosswalk was just added near Waffle House. Pedestrians can cross the street near Waffle House, walk in front of Evolve and then cross back to the other side of West Glenn Avenue once they have passed the Uncommon Auburn construction site.
Three questions about Uncommon Auburn were also raised during citizen communications.
The first was if there is some way citizens can see the suggestions the Design Review Task Force made.
There are meeting minutes and comments that are a part of the city's permanent record. There is no direct way for citizens to track the recommendations; however, citizens can look to the Design Review Task Force and developer meeting minutes.
There is a signed agreement between the city and the developer that states that the developer will adhere to the agreed recommendations from the meeting. The city has record of the agreement in the meeting minutes.
If any Auburn citizens would like a copy of the minutes or the agreement, they can contact the city managers office for the full details of the project. Otherwise the basic information about the project is in the Uncommon Auburn packet available on the city's website.
Buston assured the council the city will ensure the developer sticks to the recommendations of the Design Review Task Force.
The next question was about city sewer upgrades. The sewer upgrades have been planned for many years, but the city has yet to complete the project.
Buston said water and sewer infrastructure in downtown Auburn needs improvement. Due to the heavy traffic during football season, the upgrades have been on hold for several years.
The construction of Uncommon Auburn gives the city the opportunity to make the necessary sewer and water upgrades that are in the middle of a road or under an apartment complex without any additional strain on the surrounding area.
Buston said the city will foot the bill for the upgrades. Any additional enhancements needed for Uncommon Auburn will be paid for by the developer.
The last question was about inspection services. Normally the city would perform the inspection. Buston said the developer hired a third-party inspection agency with in the types of buildings going up now.
The city will reimburse the developers approximately $26,000 to cover the cost of hiring the inspection agency, which the city would normally do for free.
Buston and other city staffers decided an inspection agency would provide a better product and move the process of opening the building along much faster than if the city inspected the new apartment complex.
Buston emphasized that the city learned their lesson with Evolve. The city would have saved a lot of time and work if a third-party inspection agency been hired to inspect Evolve.
The City Council also voted Tuesday night to move the ward 2 polling location to Boykin Community Center for the next city election in August.
The previous ward 2 polling location at the National Guard Armory is currently unavailable and will be unavailable in August.