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With new rezoning, Marlborough agency begins marketing downtown

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – After the City Council recently OK’d a downtown rezoning measure aimed at spurring redevelopment, the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation kicked off its marketing efforts by showcasing the city to prospective developers this week.

MEDC Executive Director Tim Cummings prepares to kick off keynote presentation to real estate developers

City and MEDC officials led close to 50 developers on a tour of Marlborough and the city center and detailed the new accepted uses downtown, including hotels, brewpubs, bed and breakfasts and music recording studios, during an invitation-only luncheon Monday.

Tim Cummings, executive director of the development agency, said many developers were excited.

“Not only are they impressed with the city’s efforts with the rezoning, but they’re also impressed with Marlborough’s demographics,” said Cummings. “It was a complete success.”

Cummings continued marketing the city at a regional conference in Boston Wednesday where he discussed the rezoning measure and Marlborough’s potential.

“We have targeted downtown Marlborough as a growth district for mixed-use development,” said Cummings. “It is our hope that the private sector will respond to the new zoning changes and bring forward proposals that will continue to build upon our great Main Street streetscape.”

The development agency’s staff is reviewing feedback and is setting up one-on-one meetings with prospective developers, said Cummings.

Late last year, city officials approved the new “Marlborough Village” zoning district that encourages mixed-use projects with retail space on lower floors and housing on upper floors.

The zoning changes also ease requirements on parking and building dimensions for developers, who in turn have to comply with more stringent design standards. The zoning allows developers to make payments in lieu of creating parking and use parking that is available in the municipal garages downtown.

Previous zoning for Main Street was the same as it is along the less dense stretches of Rte. 20 on the east and west side. That zoning carried prohibitive rules – such as setback requirements meant for more suburban settings – that would rule out the type of development city officials want.

Cummings expects it will take time to revamp Marlborough center, but is hopeful the city will attract a few major projects to speed up that development.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.