Marlborough committee warms to mixed-use district
The Urban Affairs Committee was generally receptive recently to a plan proposed by a developer that would change the zoning at the former Hewlett-Packard property to accommodate a development merging office space, housing, hotels and retail at the site.
Members of the committee said they still had some reservations and want to spend adequate time reviewing and tweaking the proposal, but said they thought it could be a good move for the city.
"I have a lot of concerns but I think it’s a great idea and an interesting project," said Councilor Ed Clancy. "We need to make sure there can’t be anything that goes wrong."
The project, proposed by Atlantic Management, would revamp and add to the existing office space at the site. It also calls for 350 luxury apartments, 150 hotel rooms, shops and a restaurant or pub.
The project proponents say the development would accommodate business in the area, with the apartments targeted for employees of companies at the site or on nearby properties, such as the former Fidelity parcel next door, which was scooped up by TJX Companies.
The City Council first has to approve a zoning overlay district for the site, which is now zoned industrial, to accommodate the project.
Mark Racicot, manager of the land use division at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, said he reviewed the proposed zoning overlay district and offered several suggestions. He said the council should consider provisions in the overlay district to address traffic, parking, possible future use conflicts and water resource protection, as well as other issues.
Racicot said the plan overall is consistent with the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation’s Economic Development Master Plan.
City Council President Patricia Pope said the city hasn’t updated its zoning in years and said she thinks the project could be a good step forward for the city if it’s executed correctly.
"This is an opportunity for us to do something really different in the city," she said. "It’s the ability for everyone in this room to really put our fingerprint on the city."
The Urban Affairs Committee tabled the proposal and will take it up at its next meeting.