METRO WEST DAILY NEWS — With hopes to spur a village-like atmosphere downtown, the city is starting to see the results of changing zoning regulations several years ago.
The City Council on Monday night approved a special permit and site plans for developer Mark O’Hagan to tear down the Rowe Funeral Home on Main Street and build a five-story building with 55 residential apartments/condos, a restaurant and commercial space.
While the project is allowed by right in the the Marlborough Village District, the council approved a special permit to increase the building footprint from 80 percent to 84 percent of the property. The change will allow a patio for the restaurant, according to the plans.
“They are giving away some of the land to widen Exchange Street, which is a little street right next to it,” said City Councilor Joseph Delano, chairman of the Urban Affairs Subcommittee, in an interview. “Nobody had a problem with it.”
The patio will be along Main Street.
“It is something we are trying to encourage downtown, which many places are, to have the outdoor dining,” Delano said.
The City Council also approved the site plan, which makes sure the project meets all zoning requirements and includes a review of exterior design, landscaping and other features of the building.
The ground floor of the mixed-use development will feature 11,000 square feet of restaurant and commercial space. Floors two through four will house 15 or 16 residential units and the top floor will have eight more. The project includes 17 one-bedroom units and 38 two-bedroom units.
A lower-level parking garage will offer 83 parking spaces.
O’Hagan said he appreciates the support he’s received from city officials and looks to start construction in the fall.
“We have to finish up all the final design plans and now get our construction management groups in place and deal with the pre-planning and finance and everything that goes along with it,” he said, adding that downtown has momentum, and many people are looking to live in urban centers with restaurants and other amenities within walking distance.
“The city is really looking to get more people living down there, more restaurants and more activity,” O’Hagan said.
The project is allowed by right in the Marlborough Village downtown zoning district that was approved in 2014 to encourage mixed-use properties to bring residents and businesses downtown.
The zoning eases requirements on parking and building dimensions for developers, who in turn have to comply with more stringent design standards.
Other projects in downtown include the “E on Main” at 163-175 Main St. and 36 condominiums and first-floor retail space to South Bolton Street.
The projects will help reshape downtown and show confidence in lending for the projects, Delano said.
“It has taken a few years but we literally have three project now about to get going,” he said. “It is extremely exciting.”
This article by Jonathan Phelps originally appeared here.