Carefree Considers Downtown Loft Living

By Curtis Riggs ~ A request from a downtown business owner and the possibility of 80 new condominiums has Town officials wondering if it would be better to let people live upstairs in areas zoned commercial. Downtown Carefree property owner, and former town councilman, Bob Gemmill told the Carefree Planning and Zoning Commission that he has trouble leasing space on the second floor of the 201 building on Easy Street. He proposed building a high-end 3,500-square-foot apartment, with elevator access and sufficient on-site parking. His request was treated favorably because there are several two-story buildings along Easy Street where people used to live before the Town was incorporated. Carefree Town Administrator Gary Neiss said the Carefree zoning ordinance allows for mixed uses, which could mean residences on top of businesses. He added that, “Many people are very receptive” of having residences above existing businesses. He also said that Scottsdale developer Ed Lewis is “still putting together a game plan” for the development of four-plus acres northeast of the Carefree Post Office. The Lewis plan includes building 80 condominiums above 20,000 square feet of restaurants, galleries and shops. Carefree officials approved a text amendment to allow the project a couple of years ago. Now he is at the building permit stage.
“Times have changed and he is reviewing his marketing and price points” Niess adds.  | CST

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