Holladay Corp. has proposed a major residential-commercial complex at McLean Gardens that differs from the previous owner's plans by reducing the number of housing units and the building heights, increasing residential parking space and shifting the site of the office building.

Holladay Corp. unveiled its proposal last week at a joint meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission No. 3 and members of the McLean Gardens Condominium Association.

Holladay purchased the 9.4-acre tract at Wisconsin and Idaho Aves. in June from Stein & Co., after financial conditions prevented the Chicago-based firm from developing the property.

Under the Planned Unit Development proposed by Holladay, "the Village of McLean Gardens" will consist of 569 units, including 224 town houses, l36 terrace apartments and 209 high-rise units. The reduction from the 625 units originally proposed will lower the overall area of the complex by 260,000 square feet.

One high rise will be constructed instead of three, with l4,000 square feet of retail space on its ground floor. Adjoining it will be an office building containing 3l,000 square feet of space.

Some residents of the 31-building McLean Gardens development had opposed Stein & Co.'s development plans. The earlier conversion of that development from rental units to condominiums also had created a controversy.

"We're confident we have the financial capability, the experience and expertise to make this development plan a success," Leroy Eakin III, senior vice president of Holladay, told the group of about 75 persons.

He declined to discuss specific financial arrangements or costs for the project, but promised that their units "will be more affordable."

Under the plan, town houses will be four stories high on the garden side, and three and a half on the entrance side, with the first two floors accommodating four "through" units.

The top floors will accommodate four duplex units, with living rooms and kitchens on the lower level and bedrooms on the upper floors.

Facing Wisconsin Avenue, the terrace, or garden, apartments will be three stories high from the entrance and four stories on the garden side. Each building will contain 34 units.

Twenty-two percent of the units will be efficiencies, 62 percent will have one bedroom, l0 percent will have two bedrooms, and 6 percent will have one bedroom and a den.

All units will be recorded as condominiums, but offered as rentals, Eakin noted. Some will be sold as economic conditions warrant.

Architectural construction, and building ornamentation and trim for the high rise will conform to that of the low-rise and other units, explained project architect Colden Florance of Keyes Condon Florance Architects, a local firm.

The high rise, set 75 feet back at the intersection of Idaho and Wisconsin, will be graduated at four, six and eight stories. A ninth-floor penthouse will contain a party room and terrace.

The base of the high rise will be made of the same type of stone used for the entrance wall on Wisconsin Avenue.

An adjacent four-story office building, complete with swimming pool and health club, will be erected on the corner of Newark and Idaho; an outdoor pool, on the north site in the vicinity of the 38th Street triangle.

As for landscaping, Florance said they will preserve the "park-like" character of the area. A maximum number of street trees will be retained along 38th Street, and planting will be introduced within the parking areas. "We are proposing a design that will be consistent with the very pleasant quality of McLean Gardens . . . to create and extend the sense of the community and neighborhood that already exists," he said.

Holladay decided to relocate the commercial and office buildings on Idaho Avenue because of the other commercial facilities there, as well as because the move would provide easier access for cars and trucks. The new location would provide the commercial development with greater exposure and visibility, Florance noted.

The plan calls for a total of 569 parking spaces, 320 on the north portion of the site and 249 on the south site, including l90 spaces below ground in the high rise. There will be 5l office and 23 retail parking spaces that will double as visitor parking after hours and on weekends.

The number of parking spaces is less than previously proposed, but because the units are expected to be primarily adult units, the spaces allow a ratio of approximately one parking space per bedroom, Eakin explained.

To reduce traffic congestion and parking problems along 38th Street and Idaho Avenue, the corporation will propose meter parking on Idaho Avenue, and request the use of resident-only parking permits on 38th and Porter streets.

"Are you proposing to change the sign at the entrance?" one resident inquired, referring to the landmark McLean Gardens brick wall.

"Absolutely not," Eakin assured her.

David Brandenburg, president of the McLean Gardens Condominium Association, described the presentation as "positive," but said he would wait until the association's next meeting to assess resident response.

Phil Mendelson, ANC-3C chairman, commented that, "with some refinements," Holladay's proposal could succeed.