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A tale of two developments

By Hank Sims, Daily Planet staff
Monday December 17, 2001


Neighbors give mixed reviews Two empty lots in different parts of the city, both former Chevron stations, have presented different challenges for developer Avi Nevo and his company, Aldar Investments.  

For the first, a long-defunct space in the heart of the Solano Avenue shopping district, Aldar proposed a two-story office and retail building that has earned everyone’s affection, including that of the hard-to-please Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association. 

For the second, which lies between the Gourmet Ghetto and the KFC outlet on North Shattuck Avenue, the developer has pushed a five-story housing project that has been partially derailed by hostile neighbors and a unanimous thumbs-down from the city’s Design Review Committee. 

The proposed building at 1820 Solano Ave., which was approved by the Zoning Adjustments Board Thursday night, would have five retail outlets at ground level facing Solano and office space above. 

The ZAB voted unanimously in favor of the project, and many board members praised the building’s look. There was some concern, though, over its impact on parking in the neighborhood. Nevo and David Trachtenberg, the building’s architect, had asked the ZAB to grant their application even though they would be providing six fewer parking spaces than the building code required. 

The developers compensated for the shortfall by installing a bicycle locker and shower for office employees and promising to require businesses that move into the building to provide transit passes for their workers. 

That, plus some allowances the board made for the unusual topography of the lot, sealed the deal for a