The owners of the Napper Tandy have applied to demolish the building next door to the bar and erect a new two-unit mixed-use building, according to planning documents.
Pio and Marissa McGarr own both the longstanding Irish bar and the neighboring one-story building next door at 3214-16 24th St., where retail jewelry repair shops J.J. Jewelers and Shine Little Diamond presently operate.
The McGarrs want to knock down 3214-16 24th St. and replace it with a three-story building with market-rate apartments on the second and third floors and two new ground-floor retail spaces. Both units would be two-bedroom apartments for rent.
But before the demolition and the housing, the project first needs city approval. The planning code requires any proposed apartment to have rear yard space, but the way the plans stand now don’t satisfy those requirements: “24th Street isn’t deep enough to have a rear yard,” said Cassandra Mettling-Davis, one of the project’s lead architects and applicants.
The architect firm leading the project, CMD Architecture, suggested a roof deck with open space as a workaround, which is included in the plans.
On Wednesday, April 26, the Zoning Administrator will hear whether to grant the permission to nix the rear yard space.
If he approves and the demolition comes to pass, what will happen to J.J. Jewelers? Possibly nothing. The 32-year-old Latinx-owned business got a specific shout-out by the McGarrs, according to plans filed in late September, 2021.
“The larger space will be designated for retail use with the intention that the current retail tenant (JJ Jewelers) will return,” the plans state.
J.J. Jewelers’ owner Edgardo Campos said as long as his business can return, he’s got no issues. During the demolition, Campos might temporarily relocate, though transporting his shop’s antique clocks might be tricky. Overall, “I want to support it,” Campos said of the new construction.
The other jewelry business, Shine Little Diamond, won’t return. Instead, the new building will include a remodeled kitchen and take-out area, ostensibly for the Napper Tandy. Shine Little Diamond’s owner, Edwin Jesus Ayala Garcia, confirmed he would be forced to leave, but said he has no hard feelings; his landlord warned him when he signed his lease last year that he would stay “only for a few years.”
“A contract is a contract. When it’s done, I can’t just say, ‘No, I’m staying here!’” Ayala Garcia said, crossing his arms in feigned indignation. He may move the business to a cheaper spot along 24th Street, or abandon it altogether to focus on his music, he said, gesturing toward his guitar.
The McGarrs did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Still, nothing is set in stone. All of the proposed changes hinge on receiving the zoning variance, first. “We’re still early on,” Mettling-Davis said.