A joint city-county panel approved the $2 billion Grand Avenue project last week, one of the key steps in getting the massive development off the ground. The project calls for a 50-story and 25-story tower that will create condominiums, a hotel and retail for the stretch of Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill. A separate review of the project is being conducted by the city's Chief Legislative Analyst, Gerry Miller, who is looking at a request from the project's developer, Related Cos., for $40 million in tax breaks for the hotel. Related said a relaxation of the hotel room tax is the only way to make the project financially feasible. At the Nov. 20 meeting, the joint city-county authority asked that 20% of the units in the condominium tower be reserved for affordable housing. The project will next head to the Community Redevelopment Agency, various council committees, the full City Council, and finally to the Board of Supervisors. If it passes, construction could begin by October 2007, said Grand Avenue Project Committee Managing Director Martha Welborne.

page 2, 11/27/2006

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