100-home townhome project proposed for Dalai Lama Avenue

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100-home townhome project proposed for Dalai Lama Avenue
Rendering of The Annex Townhome Project (Images credited to the City of Richmond)

 A developer is proposing to construct 100 homes on vacant parcels along Dalai Lama and Columbia avenues in Richmond, called The Annex Townhome Project.

City Ventures is requesting a permit from the city’s Design Review Board to construct 15 residential buildings separated by interior roads, pedestrian circulation paths and landscaped paths within 4.74 acres. The L-shaped project site is located just north of The Tibetan Association of Northern California, and separated by two existing multi-family residences on Napa Street.

The project proposes a mix of 3-bed/3 bath and 4 bed/4bath homes in three-story buildings with attached, ground-floor garages, according to city documents. The project also includes public open space, including a group picnic area and seating with a fire pit located within a landscaped corridor between two rows of buildings. A community garden space would be along the street and open to the public, according to city documents.

“The applicant proposes a contemporary style, with stucco and wood siding facades articulated by covered and uncovered porches and metal accent awnings,” city documents state. “The residential development will implement ‘smart,’ energy-efficient systems.”

City staff notes some concerns with the project proposal, including the design of the building, which they said appears “out of context in this neighborhood.”

“The applicant should consider providing a compatible roof form or other design element representing the neighborhood character,” staff said. “The applicant proposes a similar design and materials for each of the 15 buildings. While the project should strive for cohesion, design should avoid a highly repetitive form, especially along the street frontage.”

City staff posed other concerns over the current project, including that some buildings would cast a shadow or much of the day over the community garden space. Buildings located within the smaller lot of the project site would lack adequate access to that amenity, staff added. More details and staff comments on the project can be reviewed here.

“The architecture and landscape plans are in conceptual form and the applicant anticipates modifying the plans in response the Design Review Board’s feedback,” the city said.

The Design Review Board meeting is set to take place Wednesday at 6 p.m. To join the meeting and view the agenda, go here.