More apartments are in the pipeline for Northside’s Six Points area, where a first-time developer is planning a 52-unit building near the six-road convergence in the heart of Highland Park.
Clean Livin LLC submitted plans with the city for a three-story building at 2906 Fifth Ave., a mostly wooded 1-acre lot along Rady Street south of its intersection with East Brookland Park Boulevard.
The LLC, which purchased the parcel in March 2021, is owned by J. Daniel and McKenzie Payne, a local couple who are making their first go at residential development.
The husband-and-wife team own about a dozen rental units under the LLC, which Daniel Payne said they formed initially to provide transitional housing for people in recovery from substance abuse.
Payne, who is in his 20th year of recovery and leads 12-step meetings for area jail inmates, said he was searching Zillow for prospective properties when he came across a listing for the Six Points site.
“I was looking for a duplex or quadplex to purchase, and I stumbled across this acre,” said Payne, whose business ventures include Widespread Solutions, a residential and commercial painting contracting company. He and McKenzie also run The Impower Experience, a yoga and wellness retreat based in Hanover.
“I bought a house and sold it in the area. This is kind of a segue, so to speak,” Payne said. “I’m not a developer by trade by any means, but I enjoy it.”
Payne said he was drawn to the site and the project for its location and potential to have an impact on the neighborhood.
“The location is ready for some nice upscale housing, and I feel like little elements like this in neighborhoods can really add value, not only to the physical aspects of the neighborhood but also to the psyche of the individuals. I see it as an investment in an area that will only improve the space and the people.”
City records show the LLC paid $75,000 for the property, which the city assessed that year at $44,000.
While he’s previously provided transitional recovery housing, Payne said the apartments would be income-based units likely targeted to lower-income households.
“It would be nice to rent it exclusively to a recovery organization, but we’ve already filed for the SUP and did not carry that designation,” Payne said. “As much as I wish I could make it fly, I just don’t have the experience with multifamily of this size to package it.”
A special-use permit is needed for the project, which isn’t allowed under the property’s current R-6 zoning district for single-family homes and duplexes. Will Gillette of Baker Development Resources is representing the Paynes in their SUP request, which was filed in December and is being processed for review by the Planning Commission and the City Council.
Plans by architect Todd Dykshorn show an L-shaped building partially enclosing a parking lot with 52 spaces, 34 of those below-grade. Those spaces would be partially beneath the building and accessed by a ramp, while the 18 surface lots would be perpendicular to an alley that runs along the west side of the site and would provide access to the parking.
Unimproved right-of-way for Fifth Avenue along the east side of the building would provide a greenspace amenity for residents, with several units with balconies overlooking the space. The apartments would range in size from 660 to 915 square feet, with 35 one-bedroom, one-bathroom units and 17 two-bedrooms with two bathrooms.
Payne would not share a cost estimate for the project, which he’s aiming to start in the first quarter of next year, pending city approvals. He said the project would likely take eight to 12 months to complete. A contractor has not been selected.
A VMI grad, Payne studied economics and business and played rugby before graduating in 1999. He said he struggled with addiction until 2002, when he started his recovery that led him to the business opportunities he enjoys now. The 44-year-old father of three encourages others to follow his path.
“There was a time in my life that I was completely hopeless, until I found my recovery journey in September of 2002,” he said. “I hold recovery near and dear to my heart, and I just want everybody to know that in that hopeless state, it’s definitely a viable option and it’s available to us all. It’s nothing that is unachievable or unattainable. I’m a product of it.”
The project adds to other multifamily investments being made in and around Six Points.
A few blocks west, Enterprise Community Development is planning a 43-unit apartment building with ground-floor commercial space at 1203 E. Brookland Park Blvd. The site is across the street from where Enterprise also is planning a 66-unit apartment building at 1218-1228 E. Brookland Park Blvd.
Enterprise, which converted the former Highland Park Public School into 77 apartments for low-income seniors, also is looking to reduce the age requirement for those units so that 80 percent of them can be rented to persons 55 and up. A request for that change is set to go before the City Council on Monday.
And in southern Highland Park, developer Harsh Thakker of Dorado Capital is planning a dozen modern-design townhomes at 2705 Fifth Ave. A demolition permit for that project was issued earlier this month.