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Modular construction planned for Marlborough mixed-use development

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – The owner of a downtown restaurant is planning to use modular construction to build a four-story addition to his eatery that will house 40 new apartments.

George Voyiatzis, owner of Fish Restaurant, is seeking to transform his one-story building at South Bolton Street and Granger Boulevard into a mixed-use development with apartments on the upper floors and businesses on the bottom floor. The property also houses a Dominos, Starbucks, Stony Brook Market and Melon frozen yogurt. The businesses would remain open during construction, said Voyiatzis.

As part of the modular construction process, crews will build a table on the existing building and install structural supports and steel floors. The residential unit sections will be built off-site in an enclosed facility, be transported to the project site and lifted and bolted into place using a crane, said Voyiatzis.

“It’s like LEGOS for grown-ups,” said Steve Reid, project manager.

With modular construction, Voyiatzis anticipates building will only take about a month.

City officials lauded the modular construction option.

“Modular construction is the way to go,” said City Councilor David Doucette.

City Councilor Matt Elder questioned where trucks and equipment would be staged, how trucks carrying the residential unit pieces would get in and out of the site and if surrounding streets will be closed at points during construction. Voyiatzis and his team expect to answer those questions and come back before the committee soon.

Under Voyiatzis’ plans, each of the top four floors would feature 10 one- and two-bedroom apartments, which he plans to market toward young professionals and empty nesters.

“It will be upscale,” said Voyiatzis. “Nothing but the best.”

Voyiatzis believes his proposal will help bring more energy to the city center, underscoring a goal of city officials. The City Council approved the new “Marlborough Village” zoning district which encourages mixed-use projects to spur downtown development. Voyiatzis’ proposal is the first to come before the city since the new zoning district was approved in late 2014.

The zoning change eases 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 instead have residents use spaces that are available in the municipal garages downtown.

Attorney Arthur Bergeron, who is representing Voyiatzis, said about 40 spaces will be needed. Bergeron requested restricting spaces for residents of Atrium Place in the municipal garage at night. The spaces would be available to the public during the morning and afternoon.

Some councilors are worried about parking problems.

City Councilor Mark Oram is worried there will be significantly less parking for customers of downtown businesses if the apartment project is approved.