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Gilbert Town Council gives thumbs down to tall downtown building

The Gilbert Town Council did not approve the zoning exemption for a proposed four-story mixed-use restaurant and office building with rooftop amenities that would have been built in the town’s popular Heritage District.

Rather, Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to push the matter of the proposed Brundrett Building off until January 2022.

The majority of Council said they were not going to approve the request to build a 68-foot-building at 226 N. Gilbert Road, but said they would delay reconsidering the project for six months to allow the applicant to come back with a new design.

The Brundrett family, which owns the adjacent Nordwood Furniture, also owns the site and is trying to develop it. Over the past few years, the family has removed the three buildings that used to be in the space. In the proposal, the first and fourth floors would have included restaurants or bars and a rooftop dining area and the second and third floors would have been for class A office space.

The proposed uses for the building were not why it was in front of Council. Rather the proposed height is 13 feet higher than what is currently allowed under Gilbert’s zoning laws. Current zoning laws allow for buildings up to 55 feet in the Heritage District, but the proposed Brundrett Building, which is being designed by Circle West Architects, would be 68 feet. The rooftop amenities, which would include 360-degree views of the Heritage District, as well as 10-foot to 15-foot ceilings in the class A office space, would require the building to be 68 feet tall, the developers argued.

A number of Heritage District business owners spoke against the development during Tuesday night’s meeting. They expressed concerns over the height and how it could block the views of the historic Gilbert water tower. It also pointed out many times that the updated guidelines for the Heritage District were just agreed upon by Council in March of this year.

The Brundrett family has owned the vacant property on the west side of Gilbert Road between Nordwood Furniture and the Farmhouse Restaurant for decades. It is unclear whether the family will propose another type of development for the land in the future.

Gilbert’s Redevelopment Commission had approved the plan in April with a 3-2 vote. But the town’s planning commission voted 6-1 against the project because of its height.

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