Big Changes for King Street/Kickbacks is Growing Up

As someone that grew up in the neighborhood, the expansion planned for Kickbacks is much anticipated.  The plan has gone from adding a couple of seats and a much needed expansion of the kitchen to a full fledged face lift for that block of King Street.  The plans coupled with other commercial ventures will greatly effect the housing values in the immediate area as the Publix addition did for 5 Points. 

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Update: Kickbacks Expansion

The construction project planned for 914 King Street has evolved considerably since the owners of Kickbacks first discussed it with RAPin May, 2011. What was initially proposed as a single-story, 150-seat addition to the existing Kickbacks establishment (to include a much-needed kitchen expansion) is now a new three-story, 11,407 square foot, 249 seat bar/restaurant to be called Goozlepipe & Guttyworks. (Of the proposed square footage, 10,551 s.f. is conditioned space, and includes dining and bar space, in addition to kitchen, storage and office space.) Ipswich Storage Company provide the instant space self storage.

The new restaurant will share kitchen, storage, bar and office space with the existing Kickbacks Gastropub with brand new office seating. Although patrons and staff will be able to move freely from one establishment to the other through internal doorways, the menus will be different and the establishments will operate under separate liquor licenses. The new restaurant also will feature a “Belgium Bar” and an extensive patio that includes covered outdoor seating, a full-liquor bar, multiple TVs and a fireplace.

RAP’s Appeal

The existing Kickbacks restaurant has 170 seats and is not required to provide any on-or off-site parking because it is located in a historically contributing structure. Plans call for Goozlepipe & Guttyworks to have 249 seats; since its building is new construction, it is not eligible under the Riverside Avondale Zoning Overlayfor the same zero parking benefit. Per City code, the number of seats in a restaurant determines how many parking spaces the restaurant is required to provide for its patrons. Based on its proposed number of seats, Goozlepipe & Guttyworks is required to provide 33 parking spaces. The project’s developers applied for an Adminstrative Deviation to reduce the number of required spaces to zero, and a Zoning Exception that would allow them to have outdoor sales and service of liquor and beer. The Planning Commission granted the waiver and RAP is appealing this decision. RAP is asking the developers to reduce the number of bar/restaurant seats and/or provide the required parking per the Zoning Overlay. We have also requested that they take measures to ensure peaceful outdoor sales and service of alcohol. We remain hopeful that a compromise can be reached.

Information about RAP’s Motion to Consolidate

The developers’ original application, now on appeal before the Land Use and Zoning Committee, asked for a waiver to reduce required parking from 19 spaces to zero. Because of a Planning Department error in calculating the number of spaces required by the Overlay, the developers have filed a new administrative application to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 33 to zero. RAP has filed a legal motion to combine the two applications because the applicants are asking for the same end result (zero parking requirements), and will end up with two final orders, possibly with different outcomes, if allowed to proceed.

Progress and Precedent

There has been considerable public debate about this proposed development and RAP’s appeal. We are concerned that the the real issue here—a legitimate capacity problem that has significant broader consequences for the district because of the legal precedent the parking deviation creates—is being obscured by genuine affection for one of our neighborhood’s most popular establishments.

To be clear, RAPis not attempting to stop the owners of Kickbacks from building a new restaurant. Indeed, we welcome an appropriately scaled dining establishment on the site Kickbacks has proposed. We merely want this new business (and all district businesses) to abide by the requirements of the Riverside Avondale Zoning Overlay, which was designed to support neighborhood-scale development and the rehabilitation of contributing historical structures. We believe the Planning Department’s waiver of parking requirements for this application subverts the Overlay, and creates a damaging precedent for granting comparable zero-parking deviations to each eligible non-contributing commercial property in the historic district.

District Merchants and RAP’s Appeal

All three local Merchants Associations—5 Points, Avondale, and Park & King—are on record as publicy supporting RAP’s appeal of the Planning Department’s decision. Their position statements can be found here.