MDHA denies new design for 24-hour diner

Developer to now go before BZA

The Metro Development and Housing Agency Design Review Committee unanimously voted today to disapprove alteration to the city’s downtown code so as to allow a new design for a proposed SoBro building that would house a 24-hour diner.

Steve Smith, who leads a team to develop a four-story building to house  Avenue Diner at Third and Demonbreun Street, presented a new design with the sidewalk at 12 feet wide, instead of the existing nine. The downtown code requires a width range of 15 to 20 feet. To compensate for the lost square footage on floor one, the team offered an image with floors two through four cantilevered over the sidewalk.

The committee, which handles the approval of designs of projects planned for MDHA’s Rutledge Hill Redevelopment District, voted 7-0 to not alter the downtown code.

“I asked if they could get more sidewalk,” Joe Cain, MDHA urban development director and committee chair told the Post.

The project, on-site work for which started a few months ago, is on hold after Metro issued a stop-work order.

"The city has been good to us and we love our city, but I guess this administration doesn’t want us to finish the building," said Smith, who is teaming with Al Ross on the project.

Smith and Ross will later this month go before the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals, which could grant him permission to resume work on the site.

Local developer Tony Giarratana has opposed the project, claiming the developer failed to adhere to Metro requirements for the site. Read more here.