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Developers intrigued by downtown Marlborough parking lot

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – During a recent tour of the city center to promote the new downtown zoning district, developers called the parking lot at the intersection of South Bolton and Main streets an ideal spot for future development.

City and Marlborough Economic Development Corporation officials led close to 50 developers on a tour of downtown in the spring to showcase the city and detail the new accepted uses on Main Street, such as hotels, brewpubs, bed and breakfasts and music recording studios.

Mayor Arthur Vigeant and MEDC Executive Director Tim Cummings told Community Development Authority members Wednesday the parking lot caught the eye of several local developers on the tour.

The cash-strapped CDA owns the lot, next to Chin’s Garden Restaurant.

“That seemed to get the most attention,” said Vigeant.

Some of the developers described the land as “a prime location” for development, Cummings told CDA board members.

The CDA, which has just over $200,000 in its accounts, could discuss selling or leasing the land to a developer to bring in more cash. A long-term lease would likely be the most advantageous as it would provide a constant cash flow for the authority, said Vigeant.

CDA board members did not discuss selling or leasing the land at their meeting Wednesday. A decision on selling or leasing the property is something to think about down the road, city officials said.

Vigeant and Cummings said the city would need to make sure there was a comprehensive plan in place that takes into account all other uses in that area, including the Fish Restaurant plaza, and accommodates parking for that property to be developed.

To help boost development downtown, city officials late last year 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 change also eases requirements on parking and building dimensions for developers, who in turn have to comply with more stringent design standards.

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 seek.

This article by Jeff Malachoski originally appeared here.