New doggy daycare to open before summers ‘dog days’ arrive

Rendering of the west elevation for Dogtopia, to be located at 1075 Hendricks Ave.

Rendering of the west elevation for Dogtopia, to be located at 1075 Hendricks Ave.

Amended Feb. 8, 2018

After housing a professional adult-attended daycare center 12 years ago, a one-story concrete building at 1075 Hendricks Ave. was proposed to be razed in 2009. Instead, for the next nine years the building languished. Now it will see new life as a daycare center for “fur babies.”

The Hendricks Avenue property, next to Reddi-Arts, is owned by Insetta Family Properties, which also owns and operates Restaurants Orsay, Black Sheep and Bellwether.

Nine years ago the property owner had plans to construct a three-story, mixed-use development consisting of a 10,000 square foot restaurant on the first floor and 18,000 square feet of leasable office space on the second and third floors.

Southbank resident Addie Kasraeian plans to open Dogtopia, a franchised open-play dog day care center mid-2018. A corporate sales director for Bailey’s Health and Fitness, it’s not a stretch for Kasraeian to want pampered pups in the San Marco area to also have a play to run and exercise.

Nearly 4,000 square feet of space will include three rooms for different sizes of dogs, and an outdoor play area. Dogtopia’s corporate focus is all-day, open-play every day, with dogs separated by size and temperament.

The 15-year-old company’s website indicates it offers live webcams for owners to watch their pets; a professionally designed spa; supervised playrooms with floors made from compressed rubber to reduce the impact on the dogs’ joints and feet; meals prepared by the owners’ direction; soundproofing; and enclosed boarding suites for owners who want more privacy for their pets during rest times. Some facilities offer overnight stays.

Review board recommendations

The proposed project was up for review at the Downtown Development Review Board’s (DDRB) Jan. 18 meeting, which gave conceptual approval to move forward with architectural designs. The project summary did note six deviations from the Downtown Overlay Zone and Downtown District Regulations will be required, including setback lines, entrances, parking, and streetscape designs, among others.

“We have tried mightily to achieve the spirit of the Downtown Overlay requirements, and have only asked for deviations necessary for the tenant’s business considering that the property is too small to comply with things like parking spaces,” said Craig Austin, company spokesperson, in an email to The Resident Feb. 7. “Due to the size of the building and the property, there isn’t enough room to back out of them without running into Hendricks Ave. or through the fence at Reddi-Arts.  Some things we just couldn’t do anything with.”

Austin also said had they increased the amount of paved area to provide parking, the project would have contributed to potential flooding on Hendricks Avenue. “Did you know the closest storm drains are on Prudential and on King?  There was no place to direct the storm water that would run off the code required parking spaces,” he said.

The proposed refurbishment of the building maintains the existing setback and the project will require the deviation to comply with the guideline to provide continuous frontage along sidewalks, creating a pedestrian-oriented and pedestrian-scaled environment.

Existing parking behind the building will be demolished with the intent to use that space for outdoor exercise.

The staff report also noted lack of an entrance from the Louisa Street frontage does not meet the guidelines and will require another request for deviation. The application notes an entrance from Louisa Street will create issues in security and internal circulation, presenting a potential escape hazard.

The report also indicated additional deviations will be needed for reductions in required parking and transparency, location of trash and loading areas, and streetscape design.

“In hopes to offset the lack of parking spaces, we’re doubling the number of bike racks required by the City.  Furthermore, we consulted with a well-known bicycle shop for their advice on who makes the most useful racks that cyclists prefer,” said Austin.

In the architect’s letter to the DDRB, Thomas Duke noted parking would be met with eight spaces for short-term parking for drop-offs and pick-ups on the Hendricks Avenue side ,10 on-street spaces on Louisa Street, surface parking under the nearby Overland Bridge and at the Kings Avenue Skyway station.

To address a requirement for transparency on street façades – that is, more glass, less solid construction – the applicant is planning to add large storefront windows and a large glass storefront entrance, as well as graphics and landscaping to make the existing blank wall more pedestrian friendly. 

As far as landscaping, the architect is requesting permission to plant two Sabal palmettos instead of Washingtonia palms along the Hendricks Avenue frontage. Additional landscaping closer to the building is proposed to include crape myrtle, Asiatic jasmine, viburnum, and other plants and grasses.

The contractor will be Sweetwater Restoration, with landscaping by Donnell Landscape Design, and engineering by Mechling Engineering & Consulting.


By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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