By Garin Groff for East Valley Tribune
Neighbors have spent a year fighting a four-story low-income apartment and retail building called Gracieâ€™s Village, which would replace the single-story Gracieâ€™s thrift store on Apache Boulevard. The site is flanked by two neighborhoods with historic designations.
The City Council will decide the fate of Gracieâ€™s Village May 31. A recent hearing on the plan generated complaints that the project would set the stage for multi-level buildings to tower over all the neighborhoods that back up to Apache Boulevard in Tempe.
Grace Community Church owns the 2-acre site and is working with Wisconsin-based Gorman & Company on the proposed 50-apartment building west of McClintock Drive. The building would include retail space for Gracieâ€™s on the ground level.
The original plan called for a six-story building with 75 units, but Gorman scaled it back in response to neighborsâ€™ concerns. Gorman would hire a professional management company to ensure the project serves people who work in Tempe but canâ€™t afford to live there, said Manjula Vaz, the developerâ€™s attorney.
The housing is for families with incomes of about $18,000 to $52,000.
The 50-unit plan has more density than the current zoning allows, but Vaz said it fits with the vision the city has for the area as defined in the voter-approved general plan.
Some neighbors support the plan because they say itâ€™s a better use for the site and would make it easier for low-income people who work in Tempe to also live there. They also cited the churchâ€™s charitable contributions to the community.
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