COEUR d'ALENE - A Colorado company is proposing to build a 12-story retail and apartment building in the heart of downtown Coeur d'Alene, adjacent to some highrise apartments already there.
Austin Lawrence Partners, a real estate development firm out of Aspen, Colo., hopes to break ground on the 125,000-square-foot, 60-unit luxury-apartment building, called One Lakeside at 201 N. First St., in the spring.
The proposed mixed-use building would sell one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with "high-end finishes and appliances," according to the company's website. A 12-unit apartment building, called Lakeside Apartments, currently sits on the 20,000-square-foot lot, which Austin Lawrence Partners purchased in April 2012.
"It is known to be one of the prized remaining parcels adjacent to the lakeshore in downtown Coeur d'Alene," the company wrote about the project. "One of Idaho's premiere resort destinations. This parcel is within steps of The Coeur d'Alene Resort, lakefront and downtown marina."
Greg Hills, principal of Austin Lawrence Partners, could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but told The Press Tuesday via email that he was traveling to Coeur d'Alene for a meeting at noon today about the project.
According to the company website, the apartments would range from 750 to 3,400 feet, boasting "ample living and deck space, outstanding city and lake views, a rooftop outdoor pool, exercise facility, and lounging areas."
The building would sit across Lakeside Avenue from the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce building, directly south of the 9-story Coeur d'Alene North Condominiums.
Some neighbors aren't wild about the proposal.
They said they're concerned the building will obstruct their lake views, block light into their building and negatively affect their property values once lake views are obstructed.
"Nobody's happy. A big part of our life down here is that lake," said Nancy Ladyman, a resident on the seventh floor of the Coeur d'Alene North condos, who will lose her lake view if the 12-story building goes up next door. "The lake will be gone and of course my property value will decrease ... It's going to affect all of our property values."
Ladyman, who has lived in the building for 25 years, said condo residents have met to discuss the proposed building, but their hands might be tied as far as fighting its development. While there has been talk in years past about previous owners developing the land, no proposal has seemed this official, or this inevitable, she said.
"The only one who could stop it is the city," she said.
Other residents on the lower level of the condos, like Mark Curtis, said they would welcome the change, and think the proposed mixed-use building could help draw business and people downtown.
"It's progress," Curtis said.
Austin Lawrence Partners plans to obtain approvals from the city this fall.
Before the developers are granted permits, they must go through at least three meetings with the city's Design Review Commission to ensure the design adheres to building standards, according to Dave Yadon, city planning director.
The first meeting on the project is at noon today in the Old Council Chambers at City Hall, 710 E. Mullan Ave. Public comment will be taken, although the meeting is about broader descriptions of the project, and not about specific designs.
The developers tout the location being close to downtown shopping, North Idaho College and the race course for Ironman on the website. The site didn't list an estimated cost of the project, or what the price range for the apartments could be.
The proposed building includes commercial space on the ground level, underground parking, and would stand around 153 feet tall.
The height alone fits under the city's downtown building guidelines, Yadon said. Height allowances are based on floor area size as well as a number of variables developers can incorporate into their building design that grants them extra height. The maximum limit downtown tops out at 220 feet.
Neighbors said they were notified weeks ago through the mail announcing today's meeting.
Some residents of Lakeside Apartments, also known as the Mudge Building, said they weren't sure how much longer they could stay in their units, but would be attending the meetings to find out.
"I understand," said Lou-Anne Barnhart, Lakeside resident since January about losing her place if the plan goes through. "If you had this property, why wouldn't you use it for something more economically (prosperous)?"
If ground is broken in the spring, a reservation program for the apartments would go into effect winter of 2013 and early 2014, according to the company.
JEROME A. POLLOS/Press Ian Cook walks to work outside of the The Lakeside apartment building Wednesday in downtown Coeur d'Alene.