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The transformation of downtown Marlborough

The transformation of downtown Marlborough

MAIN STREET JOURNAL – The efforts of city officials and Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) are reaping dividends in Downtown Village with two new major developments in the works. A six-floor mixed-use building is now planned for the area that spans 163-175 Main Street, with an additional five-floor mixed-use development planned at 28 South Bolton Street, the home of ReMax Signature Properties.

Across the street from ReMax, a third project was announced two years ago but has been delayed. Fish Restaurant owner George Voyiatzis is still planning to build Atrium Place, four floors of ten units each on top of his current single-floor retail building, but the timeline has been pushed out.

The planned Main Street development will fill in the vacant parcel that has been used as a pocket park and will extend westward to include additional floors above the former Peoples United Bank building, and eastward by replacing the single floor building at 163 Main Street. The proposed 68,921 square foot structure will include thirty-two condo units along with ground floor retail space and either twenty-seven or twenty-eight on-site parking spaces on the ground floor.

New York City-based Wellbuilt Company will be developing the site. Wellbuilt is a high-end multi-national design and construction firm and builder of exclusive private residences and boutique commercial retail sites.

Two of the units will be one-bedroom while the remaining condos will offer two bedrooms. A high-end restaurant will be on the ground floor of the old bank building. Developer Kevin Brett said he is hoping for a bakery-type business to occupy the other available ground floor retail space.

Brett comes from Carndonagh, a small rural town in County Donegal, Ireland. He moved to Metropolitan Boston after falling in love with the area while on vacation. He and Todd Rotundi serve as Wellbuilt’s overseers for development in this region.

It was the work of former MEDC Executive Director Tim Cummings that led Brett to Marlborough. Brett had heard about zoning changes approved for the downtown district through a third party who Cummings had contacted. When Brett eventually met with Cummings to learn of the opportunity, he concluded, “It seemed like a no-brainer. It looked like (city officials) were doing everything right.”

Brett said the greatest challenge was tying up the three parcels, as each – former bank, vacant lot and 163 Main – had different owners. Once that hurdle was crossed, he said it has been smooth sailing. According to Brett, the support of Mayor Arthur Vigeant, the City Council and MEDC proved instrumental in moving the process along. Brett also noted that the project would not have been feasible without the zoning changes approved for downtown two years ago.

The current plan is for groundbreaking and framing to begin early next year with total project completion in eighteen to twenty-four months.

Eastward down Main Street then around the corner onto South Bolton, Marilyn Green is very excited about what is happening downtown. However, the idea of building upwards had never crossed her mind until Cummings visited one day and inquired about her plans for the future.

Green has been a successful realtor since 1972 and has been housed at her current location for seventeen years. ReMax Signature Properties is a family affair as Green is joined by her brother and co-owner, Rich Anzalone, along with daughter, Jennifer Green Thompson, and daughter in law, Penny Green.

Reflecting back on her first meeting with Cummings, Green said, “I started to laugh. I thought he was delusional.” But as she began to think about the vision of downtown that Cummings shared with her, Green began to imagine the possibilities.

“Tim got me excited about what Marlborough could become,” she said. “With all the new companies coming to the area, we need to give those employees what Marlborough has been lacking.”

Specifically, Green is embracing the vision of an urban downtown as a nice place to live and work, with a wide variety of amenities to enjoy. The belief is that high end mixed-use developments will lead to an improved collection of retail businesses.

Green’s development is in the preliminary discussion phase. “Our goal is to have twelve unique apartments with underground parking,” she said. In addition, she is aiming for a building design that will compliment the Marlborough Savings Bank located diagonally across the street and the planned Atrium Place across the street at the Fish Restaurant site.

During an interview last year, Voyiatzis said he is planning a mix of one and two bedroom apartments targeting young professionals and empty nesters. A full atrium will span all four floors and each unit will have modern appliances and hardwood floors.

“We will have people living, working and playing in the same area and that will add vibrancy to downtown,” said Voyiatzis. In addition, he noted that the increased density now possible with the new zoning downtown can generate more tax revenue per parcel. Likewise, he believes the presence of more people who call downtown home, will attract new types of businesses.

Shown in top and middle images below are renderings of front and rear views of the planned 163-175 Main Street development. The lower image reflects a preliminary design concept for the mixed-use expansion of the ReMax Signature Properties office at 28 South Bolton Street.

This article by Jim Ash originally appeared here.