Published Date Written by Craig LyonsThe residential redevelopment of the once neglected India Street neighborhood received a big boost last night as three major projects moved closer to coming to fruition.
The city's planning board reviewed three different projects that are being proposed for the India Street neighborhood. All three projects were at various phases in the approval process.
The Hampshire Street condo and commercial development sought an amendment to its zoning; Opechee Construction Corporation's condo development near the Hampton Inn was presented to the board for the first time; and the Bay House project — now known as Village at Ocean Gate — on Middle and Newbury streets was presented at a public hearing to garner final approval for amendments to its site plan.
Only one of the three projects were up for approval Tuesday night: Village at Ocean Gate, LLC's Bay Village apartment complex. The project — originally conceived as condos, but now to be financed as rental units — was approved unanimously.
The Bay House project — which is proposed for Newbury and Middle streets — was first approved in 2009. The developers recently returned to the city to ask to amend the project's site plan to increase the number of residential units, eliminate one level of parking and to modify the utility and landscaping plans.
The Bay House project, as it was first approved, included 82 condominiums and two levels of parking that accommodated 159 parking spots, according to a memo to the board.
The project, as it was approved Tuesday night, includes 94 apartments with 80 on-site parking spaces and 20 off-site leased spaces.
During the board's afternoon workshop, the Hampshire Street development and second phase of the Fore Street project were reviewed. The board agreed to schedule a public hearing for both the Hampshire Street project and Opechee development.
The Hampshire Street developers plan to build a five-story building — four stories with a mezzanine — that will house four floors of condominiums and a three-story building for commercial use. The developers asked the board to amend the zoning to a business zone from a residential zone to allow for a taller building height and a lower side yard setback requirement.
By changing the zoning and allowing for a business-type zone for the development, the board would allow for a higher residential density and possible commercial uses in the building.
When the public had a chance to comment on the development, they voiced support for the project but there was some concern that the project doesn't adequately engage Franklin Street.
Once a recommendation is made about the zoning, the Hampshire Street development will still need to come back before the board for its subdivision and site plan review.
The second project reviewed was for Opechee Construction Corporation's plan for a development at 203 Fore St., site of the New Hampshire's company's Hampton Inn hotel development. The new condo and retail/office space development would include a five-story building housing retail space, offices, condominiums and parking for the building.
The development is sited for the former Jordan's Meats property.
The development is the second phase of Opechee's development in the Fore Street area. The first phase included the construction of the Hampton Inn at the corner of Fore and Franklin streets.
Before the board reconvened to review the three India Street corridor developments, the members toured the neighborhood to get a sense of what the building heights meant as board members reviewed the mixed use projects.