FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – New details have been revealed in the construction of a building on W. Jefferson Blvd. that drew several questions before stop-work orders were issued.
Quintana Plaza, east of Lutheran Hospital and west of Covington Plaza was initially supposed to be a large garage added on to a house, but continued to get bigger to the point that a complaint was sent to the Allen County Building Department.
Michael Quintana, the man behind the project, has requested that the Allen County Department of Planning Services rezone his plaza at 6626 W. Jefferson Blvd. from residential to commercial. He plans to make the project, which he’s conducting with E.E. Brandenberger Construction, a restaurant and retail space.
Monday evening, the project’s attorney, James Federoff, presented the request for a rezoning of the property.
In the presentation, the Plan Commission learned details of the buffer between the building and its neighbors, which Federoff said is the biggest concern with the project.
In a written commitment, Federoff said a 200 foot long fence would be built between the building and a neighboring house to the southwest. Trees and shrubs would be planted to the east, separating it from the spa. Another fence would be built between the building and the Covington Creek condos to the north.
WANE 15 also learned that the latest design for the building would have it surrounded with walls of brick or stone. The insulation and wood frame has been visible since work stopped on the project.
The problem is that in his initial filings with the Building Department he said he was only going to build an addition – a 8,820 square foot garage with a front and rear porch. The stop-work order and and $500 fine were issued when it was realized he was building the restaurant and retail space without proper permission.
WANE 15 asked Federoff why Quintana didn’t tell the building department about his change of plans.
“I think it started out as a residential project and he decided, given the location, that it would be a good prospect for commercial development,” he said.
Federoff said once Quintana received the stop-work orders and $500 fine, he was hired to help get the project rezoned from a residential to commercial.
The property has not yet been listed to be leased, but according to a developer, two physical therapists have expressed interest, along with a bedding company.
Some in the community wondered if Quintana was trying to save money or avoid higher construction standards by not getting his plaza cleared with the proper county officials.
“There’s safeguards in place,” Federoff said. “You can’t build a building and turn it into a commercial use if it’s not zoned properly. So it’s just not possible. The building department stopped work on it and that was proper.”
About five people spoke Monday night in opposition of the rezoning. Several suggested the building be torn down and rebuilt for what it is now intended to be.
A representative for the owners of the spa and condos told the Plan Commission that his clients agreed to not object to the rezoning request if it stays as-is if or when City Council gets it. If any changes are made in the commitment, the owners would then oppose the request.
The plan commission is set to make a decision on the rezoning request come Monday.