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Three Light Hitting Switch? Contractor Seeks Lane Closings in Early May

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

More than three years after it was unveiled by the Cordish Co., the 25-story Three Light luxury apartment tower may be poised to start work in early May at the northeast corner of Main and Truman Road.

J.E. Dunn, the contractor for the estimated $120 million project, has applied to the city for permits to close parts of Truman Road and Walnut Street adjoining the construction site for two years beginning May 3, according to city records.

Cordish officials could not be reached for comment, but the Three Light website states the 321-unit apartment tower is expected to open in 2023.

The tower would join two other Cordish apartment buildings, the 307-unit One Light, which opened at 13th and Walnut in November 2015; and the 296-unit Two Light, which opened at Truman and Grand in April 2018.

Plans call for Two Light to be connected to Three Light via an eighth floor skybridge over Walnut. It will allow residents of both buildings to share social amenities including an infinity pool, outdoor spa, and indoor/outdoor party space and bar.

The Three Light architect is Hord Coplan Macht of Baltimore, the same firm that designed Two Light.

The apartment projects are part of the landmark redevelopment agreement reached in 2004 between Cordish and the city that covered an approximately eight-block, blighted area on the south side of the Central Business District.

The Three Light project is planned for this parking lot at Main and Truman Road. The Two Light apartments are in the background. (Image from Google Maps)

It included construction of the Power & Light District which began operations in 2007, and up to five apartment towers.

A potential ‘Four Light’ apartment tower is contemplated on a parking lot on the west side of the now-closed Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Officials at B&B Theatres of Liberty are in negotiations with Cordish to reopen the former Alamo space in the historic Mainstreet Theater as a B&B operation.

Cordish officials have said previously the new Three Light tower is expected to seek monthly rents ranging from $1,400 for a studio up to $7,000 for a penthouse club apartment.

While the city is obligated under the 2004 agreement to financially assist Cordish with its apartment projects, the negotiation for the 2018 deal that helped build Three Light was a contentious affair at the City Council.

The Council ultimately approved a 25-year property tax abatement and $17.5 million in cash to build the project’s 475-space garage, but included a requirement that Cordish develop 100 units of affordable housing in the historic Midland Building.

Another view of the Three Light project from the south. (Rendering by Arnold Imaging)

The 100 units are intended to meet the affordable housing goal of not only Three Light, but potential Four and Five Light projects as well. The city also has capped its obligations to Cordish to a maximum six apartment projects.

But the reverberations of that bitter Three Light incentive debate three years ago have continued at City Hall with continuing efforts to change city development policy.

In late January, the Council approved an ordinance requiring 20 percent of units in a residential project receiving tax incentives be set aside for affordable and “extremely” affordable housing.

And last month, the Council voted to pare back property tax abatements to a maximum of 15 years with the first 10 years at 70 percent and the following five at 30 percent.

That compares to the 25-year property tax abatement Three Light received three years ago, 15 years at 100 percent and 10 years at 50 percent, the maximum allowed by state law.

The Three Light permit application filed by J.E. Dunn calls for the southbound lane on Walnut to be closed for two years between 14th Street and Truman, and the westbound right lane of Truman to be closed between Grand and Main.

The sidewalk on the east side of Main between Truman and 14th streets also will be closed during construction.

Liam Dai contributed to this report

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