New Mexican restaurant planned for controversial Broadmoor building

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The old Hubert building at 4401 South Broad Street. (via Google maps)

The old Hubert building at 4401 South Broad Street. (via Google Maps)

A chef at a popular Mid-City eatery hopes to open her own Mexican restaurant in Broadmoor, but first she will need to obtain commercial zoning for a former Broad Street drug store that neighbors have long fought to keep residential.

Lindsey McLellan, a chef at Lola’s Restaurant on Esplanade Avenue, hopes to open a Mexican restaurant called “El Pavo Real” (Spanish for “The Peacock”) in the old Hubert building at 4401 South Broad. The restaurant would occupy the ground floor of the building, leaving two apartments upstairs, she says in documents accompanying her zoning application.

“I have worked in the food service industry in some capacity since 1993 and am ready to branch out and create something in my own community,” McLellan wrote in a letter to neighbors. “The dream I envision is a family centered, comfortable establishment with healthy, affordable, scratch made food.”

The building originally opened as Hubert Drug Store in 1917 and still bears the name “Hubert,” and was most recently the Time Saver convenience store until it closed in 1993, subsequently losing its commercial zoning and reverting to residential.

“Several months ago, while walking my little girls down Napoleon Avenue, I noticed that the property at 4401 S. Broad had become vacant,” McLellan wrote. “Even though it was listed as a residential property, I decided to pursue the listing because I knew it had previously housed commercial establishments and mainly because it is perfect for the project that I have in mind.”

The building is across from the Keller library and the Broadmoor playspot, and next to the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Because it is next to church, it cannot obtain a license to sell alcohol, McLellan told about 20 neighbors in an Aug. 13 community meeting.

No off-street parking is required by the city because of the ground floor is only around 2,500 square feet, but the building does have four spots in the back, two of which are required for the apartments. McLellan is also in talks with the church about parking, she said.

Previous attempts to restore the commercial use of the building in 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2012 were all rejected by the City Council, usually amid neighborhood opposition. City staffers have generally supported approving each of those previous requests, because of the building’s historic use and consistency with the Master Plan, and are recommending approval yet again for McLellan’s restaurant.

While some neighbors at the meeting welcomed the idea of the restaurant in the neighborhood, others were concerned about its impact on parking. One nearby neighbor, Elizabeth Rareshide, wrote to the City Planning Commission that she opposes the rezoning because other commercial properties are available, because it will attract crime, because too little parking is available and other reasons.

“Putting a commercial establishment in the middle of a residential neighborhood does not improve the neighborhood,” Rareshide wrote, noting that she has lived in her house for 50 years. “This is spot zoning. Spot zoning creates an exception that financially benefits the owner to the detriment of neighboring property owners, while providing no public benefit.”

The request will be heard before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday, then head to the City Council for a final decision. If approved, McLellan said she expects the permitting process for the restaurant to take up to six months, and she would then need up to another six months to build out a kitchen.

Other requests pending before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday include:

  • A business owner named Rebecca Schultz proposes to use part of the building at 8837 Willow Street in west Carrollton (at the corner of General Ogden Street) as the “Carrollton Commissary,” a catering kitchen attached for preparation of food at off-site locations. Similar to the Broadmoor request, City Planning recommends approval of the commercial rezoning because the building is a historic neighborhood corner business, but the project faces opposition in the form of a petition with more than 90 signatures against it.
  • The Waldorf School in the Irish Channel is proposing a new early-childhood education center at 600 Soraparu. The city staff recommends approval.
  • The AT&T Store at 1900 St. Charles Avenue is requesting an accessory parking lot at 1540 St. Mary Street in the Lower Garden District. The city staff recommends denial.

The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street.

6 thoughts on “New Mexican restaurant planned for controversial Broadmoor building

  1. What great news! That building has always been such a gem, begging for an appropriate commercial tenant. Of course there will be those fighting a liquor permit, and fighting the parking waiver, and fighting jut to fight, but hopefully the neighborhood will welcome this addition to their neighborhood.

  2. That AT&T store currently has illegal parking on the St Mary St side of the building. The parking spots are shorter than the required length, so the parked vehicles are continually blocking the sidewalk. Pedestrians on St Mary St have to either walk in the roadway or cross the road and use the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Why the city would allow such a flagrant abuse of public property solely for private gain is beyond me. Hopefully, his request for additional parking will be turned down; Lord knows what additional problems for the public that new parking would cause!

  3. I live 2 blocks from the site of the proposed restaurant and would love to see it open. It would be great to be able to walk to a restaurant. Having small shops and restaurants in residential neighborhoods adds value. Broadmoor is great but its a bit of desert when it comes to places within walking distance. Hope it opens.

  4. ” Because it is next to church, it cannot obtain a license to sell alcohol” What kind of b.s. morality law is that? Religious people should not have special laws for their members only social clubs. It is time to eradicate laws that try and force religious morality on all of us.

  5. Well, actually New Mexico is pretty widely known for its cuisine, mainly based on its chiles. If you don’t know it, you are missing out.

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