When the preliminary Master Plan for the redevelopment of Friendship Court was introduced in late 2016, it proposed replacing the existing townhome-style buildings entirely with apartment-style multi-family buildings. The intent at the time was to quadruple the number of apartments, from 150 to 600. Apartment-style buildings were the only way to achieve this number of apartments.
The community as a whole, both from inside and outside of Friendship Court, expressed consistent concerns on multiple aspects of the preliminary Master Plan. Specifically, pursuing solely apartment-style buildings, and the resulting total number of apartments overall, were raised as primary concerns. These, and other issues, prompted the need to refine the redevelopment plan in order to properly reflect resident goals.
Currently, nearly all apartments at Friendship Court are two-story townhomes with front doors leading directly outside to sidewalks and/or green spaces. Many residents, particularly families with young children, have expressed a strong desire to maintain the immediacy of their connection to the outdoors. For these families, having direct access to the outside is both a lifestyle preference as well as providing a sense of safety and watchful eyes on their children at play.
On the other hand, there are many other residents who are excited at the prospect of an apartment-style building. Many residents have expressed interest in the amenities provided in multi-family buildings, such as workout rooms, computer labs, and meeting rooms. Further, for elderly residents, or for those with mobility impairments, the prospect of elevator access and single-level floor plans is deeply welcomed and tremendously beneficial.
The bottom line is that residents want choices that match their desires and needs. As we finalize the refinement of the site plan, residents on the Advisory Committee have discovered the necessity of balancing multiple, sometimes competing, priorities: creating ample green spaces, adding new affordable units, providing both townhome and apartment housing types, the need for sufficient parking, the cost of construction, etc.
The resulting updated plan does a remarkable job at establishing this balance, providing as much choice in housing types as possible while creating a neighborhood framework that retains desired characteristics and re-knits the community to the surrounding city.