CommRow Balcony Approved

by Mike Van Houten / Mar 1, 2011

CommRow cleared a major hurdle yesterday when the city council approved a 50-year airspace lease for to use an extra two feet of space 15 feet over a city sidewalk on Virginia Street to build a balcony as a staging ground for the world’s tallest climbing wall.

In a tense discussion with the city council, Leal laid out a project in possible jeopardy because of delays associated with a special use permit Leal learned he would need late in the game. Leal was not happy about the 10-year limit on the lease for airspace, citing it's "not logical to invest millions into a project that could be torn out from under me in ten years". He also wasn't happy about a provision that the permit/license could be yanked by the City with '"good cause" even though city attorney Marilyn Craig could not define what good cause meant because they "can't predict what would happen in the future in that area. "

Leal then explained that Entre Enterprises is entering their prime rock-climbing-construction season, mostly college and university projects, and that any more delays would cause him to miss his time window of construction. He mentioned his partner in Chicago was 'bent out of shape' because of the delays, and could potentially lose up to $500,000 if they missed the summer season.

The council understood his position, and after some discussion, extended the air space license to 50 years, which Leal agreed to, and also eliminated the 'Revocable with Good Cause' section of the permit entirely.
So I think that was the last permit-associated hurdle for this project to cross. Now construction can begin on the world's largest climbing wall, the indoor boulder park, hotel and first floor food amenities!

Post your comments
  • March 1, 2011 - 12:47:55 PM

    Yay!!! The city got out of the way and let someone do business! I'm excited to see this project come together.

  • March 1, 2011 - 2:26:33 PM

    I'm excited to see this project happen! The City is not in the way... their attorney's office was doing their job by looking to cover taxpayer's behinds from lawsuits. The City owns the airspace... which I presume means that any lawsuits relating from that area would involve the City. I pleased the Council sided with Leal, but I certainly don't blame the attorney's office for advising caution.

  • March 1, 2011 - 2:36:23 PM

    I agree Holy Moly, the attorneys are there to protect the city's interest, which is important. I wasn't criticizing the city at all :) I am excited about this project as well!

  • March 1, 2011 - 6:29:40 PM

    It was sort of amusing to watch Leal man-up and the council roll over like the pussy-whipped tyros that they are. That said, I'm constantly shocked buy Leal's naivety. Did he need an easement for the Mantage balconies? Yes. Why did he think the Fitz would be different. Some clerk didn't tell him that he would need a special use permit and that results in a hissy fit over the delay? Leal is supposed to be an experienced, professional developer - he should know and anticipate these things. Anyway, glad things look like they are moving forward. Now let's talk about the garage!