a failed attempt to turn Swiss Hall into a restaurant, beer garden and
entertainment venue, the former lodge for a local Fraternal Order of Police
Deputy Sheriff may still get a new life.
On Dec. 20 last year, Swiss Hall, located 719 Lynn St., was purchased by Swiss
Village LLC for $800,000, according to county land records.
The property transfer documents were signed by Jeff Underhill, who is identified
as the sole owner of Swiss Village. Underhill is a partner in the local
development company Underhill Associates, which built Germantown Mill Loft and
is renovating Colonial Gardens, among numerous other projects.
According to a letter sent out to nearby residents by land use attorney Bill
Bardenwerper, the new owner wants to rezone the property from R5 to R6, a higher
density zoning, to allow for 40 condominiums on the 2.69 acres. The project
would split between a renovated 12,260-square-foot Swiss Hall and patio homes
along the perimeter of the property, the letter states.
When reached by phone, Underhill said the redevelopment is a personal project
outside of Underhill Associates.
He was approached a while back about possibly building housing around Swiss
Hall, which another developer planned to turn into a music hall, but he turned
down the opportunity because he said he didn’t think a music hall there made
sense. Against the Grain’s then made plans for a beer hall and venue there, but
when those fell through and the property went back on the market, Underhill said
he decided to take a look at it and wanted to develop a plan that would
complement the neighborhood and be acceptable to the surrounding residents.
Underhill said he wants to “make it into the residential that it was probably
intended to be,” noting that his goal with projects is to say “how can we
enhance other parts of the area and participate in improvements around here.”
The project will include a courtyard between the three-story Swiss Hall and the
units on the perimeter. The additional buildings proposed on the property will
be two stories, and the 40 condominiums will be mostly two bedrooms and two
bathrooms, with a few large one bedroom units, Underhill said.
The units will have patios, front porches and garages, he said. They are still
deciding whether they will sell the condominiums outright or offer at least some
for rent to own.
The neighborhood meeting to present the preliminary plans is scheduled for 7
p.m. Feb. 5 at Eastern Parkway Baptist Church, 601 Eastern Parkway.