The West Lafayette City Council approved two five-story, near-campus buildings on Monday night.
The first, and more controversial of the two, was the proposal at 720 Northwestern Ave. After hearing public comments, the council voted 4 to 3, in favor of the proposal. Councilors Steve Dietrich, R-At Large, Gerry Keen, R-District 5, Vicki Burch, R-District 4, and Eddie VanBogaert, D-District 1 voted in favor. Citing overwhelmingly negative responses from Hills and Dales residents and lack of a city neighborhood land-use plan, Councilors Peter Bunder D-District 2, Ann Hunt, D-District 3, and Gerald Thomas D-at large voted against.
The building is expected to generate about $1,000,000 in annual tax revenues for the city, according to attorney for the proposal Dan Teder. That's $900,000 more than what the location currently brings in.
The building will contain 490 bedrooms inside 230 units. There will be 41,825 square feet of ground floor retail with a 405 space parking garage that will consist of three levels. Two levels are underground and connect internally. The "crown jewel" of the building is Fresh City Market, a full-service grocery store with a delivery option that will be housed in the first floor of the building.
Student government president Joe Rust spoke in favor of the project. He cited that the lack of restaurant and grocery options have caused Purdue to rank at the bottom part of the Big Ten in terms of overall choices available for students.
"This is something the students do want," Rust said. "This is something that will be the best for students and for Purdue University."
Some small business owners seem welcoming to the change too.
David Sommers, co-owner of Mad Mushroom Pizza, thinks it could fit into the community well.
"I like the fact that they're doing a lot of stuff that's going to match Mackey across the way." Sommers said. "I think when it's done it's going to be a wonderful addition to the community."
Even with the growing pains of construction along Northwestern, Sommers thinks the long-term benefits of the project will be worth it. Even though he said the pizza parlor may not be in the new location. However, he guarantees "it will not leave West Lafayette."
"We've not had any formal discussions with any landlords," Sommers said. "When the transition occurs, we'll figure it out. Either we'll find another location on campus or we will return here (to 720 Northwestern Ave.), or a combination."
But the building at 720 Northwestern Ave., aside from Mad Mushroom relocating, won't have an immediate impact on students, unlike the other five-story mixed-use building that was unanimously passed.
State Street Corner will contain more than 20,000 square feet of retail planned for the basement, first and second floors. There will be 24 units containing 45 bedrooms for the third, fourth and fifth floors. The building is planned for the northwest corner of Northwestern Avenue and State Street.
Attorney Dan Teder and the owners of Where Else? Bar announced that the bar would be moving into Chauncey Hill Mall next to University Spirit in late August. The same weekly events will be planned and there will be a dance floor.
A CVS Pharmacy is anticipated to be housed in the first and second floors, but no official lease has been signed yet.
If a lease is signed, small-businesses "are going to go down" according to Abdul Albabeli, owner of Campus Shop on 208 South St.
"CVS is a franchise; this is what they do," Albabeli said. "Us, the Discount Den, next door and the gas station, a lot of businesses in town that do the same stuff as CVS are going to be smashed."
His store primarily sells candies, cigarettes, drinks and hookahs. He plans to wait and see how business ends up, but if his sales go poorly, he may convert his store to a smoke shop.
The new building will also house a restaurant, similar to downtown Lafayette’s Sgt. Preston’s or Black Sparrow, in the basement level of the building. Alcohol will only be served from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Initially, live music was going to be banned at the establishment. However, Councilor VanBogaert asked Mayor John Dennis for the possibility of having the option to submit permits to police and fire authorities to allow small-scale shows. Dennis agreed to this.
Below is the plan for 720 Northwestern Ave. submitted to the Area Plan Commission.
The grocery store company that will occupy the location is based out of Madison, Wis. The new store will be modeled after the one in Madison.
This is the plan for State Street Corner submitted to the Area Plan Commission.