Brownstoner asked what’s up with 291 Kent – here’s what I know. This site is actually three buildings – the small commercial piece on Kent (seen in Brownstoner’s photo), and two four-story residential buildings on South 2nd and South 3rd respectively. The project was the subject of a somewhat contentious variance fight a few years ago (before blogs, apparently – I can’t find any links). The owner originally came in with a proposal for a 16-story building. The owner claimed they couldn’t possibly make a profit at anything less than 16 stories. The community board rejected the application and the neighbors fought it every step of the way. When the City refused to approve the variance, the owner came back with a slightly lower plan. The absolute minimum, and all that. Again, no CB approval and strong community opposition. That too was rejected by the city, and ultimately the owner came back with a variance application for four-story buildings on the side streets. That was approved [danger – pdf].
Something to remember when Domino tells you they absolutely, positively must have 14-stories on the block to the south in order to make their project work.
And I have no idea what the retail space will be used for. Sorry, Jon.