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Developer rushes to get Downtown project approved before vote on anti-development initiative

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196 apartments proposed for a parking lot on Main Street

On Tuesday, an unnamed developer filed plans with the city for a mixed use project that would bring 196 apartments and 6,344 square feet of commercial space to a Downtown parking lot across the street from the Regent Theater on Main Street. The lot is owned by parking juggernaut L&R Group; but it's not the ones planning the project.

As The Real Deal reports, the plans were filed by a prospective buyer who has not yet completed the purchase of the lot. The developer evidently took this unusually preemptive step in order to get the plans approved in advance of voters weighing in on the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative ballot measure.

Recently added to the March ballot, the measure would place a two-year moratorium on most major construction projects, and prevent the city from approving developments that require changes to community zoning rules.

Adam Tischer, a listing agent for the property, tells The Real Deal that the sale of the lot won’t close until 2017, but the buyer is eager to unlock value in the property that may not be there if the measure passes. Should that happen, Tischer notes, "land that is already entitled will become among the most valuable properties in the city."

If more developers are thinking that way, it’s possible the specter of the measure’s passage could (very ironically) foster a miniature development boom of projects requiring zoning changes.

Certainly, quite a few major projects have recently been submitted to the city, including an enormous mixed use project in the Arts District and a skyscraper near Pershing Square that could rise up to 57 stories.