A redevelopment agreement that could add 207 residential units and a separate hotel to the city’s north end took another step towards becoming a reality last week, as the city council quietly advanced a resolution for what would be one of the city’s largest construction projects.
The development, which has been referred to as Just Block 112 LLC, had been discussed for years before talks heated up due to a proposal that emerged in 2016. A different version of the plan came to light last month, and a redevelopment agreement has officially been reached between the city and property owners Mark Villamar and Hany Ahmed.
The 1.83-acre property at 1300 Jefferson Street, spanning an entire block, would include three separate buildings under the agreement. The first two, set to rise 11 stories and no more than 116 feet, would be connected by a lobby and include a total of 207 residential units. Of those, 21 would be set aside as affordable housing per the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan, and a ground floor retail component would span approximately 19,000 square feet. Amenities in the residential component would include a gymnasium, game room, lounge, and a rooftop swimming pool.
The third structure is set to be the hotel portion that would include no more than 281 rooms, total 16 stories, and rise 166 feet. The ground floor would feature the lobby and a retail storefront spanning 4,625 square feet, while the next two floors would consist of about 18,000 square feet of commercial space. The roof at the hotel looks to impress, as it could potentially include an infinity swimming pool, a rooftop bar, a restaurant, and a terrace lounge. The blueprint of the building under the agreement allows 3,164 square feet of interior usable space and a 6,202-square-foot outdoor section.
No less than 304 parking spaces combined are to be included per the redevelopment agreement, which dictates that all the buildings need to be designed and constructed by LEED Silver standards or greater. A subsurface stormwater detention system capable of retaining no less than 22,000 cubic feet of water would also be required.
The project would build a new mid-block road between the residential and hotel buildings that would create six on-street parking spaces and five loading spaces. Additionally, a public open space of about 5,200 square feet would be built between the residential lobby and hotel lobby along Jefferson Street. Finally, the developer would make a payment of $1.85 million to the city under the redevelopment deal “to be utilized by the City for/towards a specific public purpose within or about the Western Edge Redevelopment,” likely for the Northwest Park.
An earlier version of the proposal included the adaptive reuse of an existing warehouse set to contain a bowling alley, but that portion of the project has been eliminated. One of the property’s owners, Mark Villamar, addressed the city council at their April 17 meeting and disclosed that while their group hasn’t yet secured an operator for the hotel, approving the redevelopment deal would hopefully help them do so and obtain financing for the project.
Several council members voiced concerns about the lack of notice they were given when the resolution was being discussed, as the 99-page redevelopment agreement was only sent to them mere days before appearing on the agenda. The council nonetheless voted 6-2 to grant the Mayor authority to enter into the redevelopment deal, which clears the way for Just Block 112 to potentially submit an application to the planning board.