HUDSON — Renderings for the city’s downtown project recently got a positive reception from the Architectural & Historic Board of Review.

The panel on Feb. 27 viewed the four renderings for Downtown Phase II that were prepared by Mota Design Group.

“I think it’s clear it’s going in the right direction,” said Board Chairman David Drummond. “It’s picking up the character that we’re looking for.”

The Board did not take any official action or vote on the renderings.

The proposed project, which will be situated at Owen Brown Street and Morse Road, is expected to have about 70 villas with first-floor master bedrooms, about 20 condominiums, 60,000-70,000 square feet of office space initially, and potentially another 60,000-70,000 square feet later, as well as a parking garage with 250 to 300 spaces.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the project through an advisory vote May 7.

Testa Companies contracted with Mota to create the renderings and the city paid Mota $24,500 for the work.

Joel Testa, president and chief operating officer of Testa Companies, said the designs were created in response to a request from the city.

“This is really an artistic rendering,” said Testa. “This is to get the big picture vision.”

He said he is seeking feedback on the renderings, and will meet with the architectural stakeholders’ group to refine the designs.

“This won’t be — more than likely — the final submission that you see,” said Testa to the Board. “But it does give you the intent [and] the flavor and the scale and more of a finished look at the project.”

There are both computer-generated and watercolor images of four different viewpoints of the project. The images show Morse Road looking north; Owen Brown Street looking north as it intersects with Village Way; a westward view of a road that would be created in the project; and a southward view of that new road as it intersects with Village Way.

“We picked these views because we thought they best represented what phase one [of Downtwown Phase II] would look like,” said Brett Moses of Mota Design Group.

Moses said the residential area north of Owen Brown Street will be the first phase in the development.

One change from the original design is that the street in the residential area will not have on-street parking stalls and will instead be widened and have parking on one side of the street. He said he felt this revision “made a big difference” because it will allow for a tree lawn to be put into place.

This area will have a mix of one-story, one-and-a-half-story, two-story and three-story buildings, according to Moses. He said the goal is to vary the use of materials so each unit has its own “individual” look.

Moses said that every residence will “have a porch that’s dedicated that’s out on the street. I think that’s a big part of softening the edge as it comes out to the street.” 

“I do like the porches,” noted Drummond. “I think that really makes it look authentic and that’s a lost detail on a lot of things today. The details we will work out as we go through each individual building. I think you’ve captured the essence of a northeastern traditional neighborhood.”

Board member Allyn Marzulla said changing the street “so that you have more green is I think a big plus as well.”

Drummond says he likes the rendering that shows a park area along Owen Brown Street being maintained within the development.

Drummond emphasized that the city does not want to duplicate the historic district or First and Main.

“This should look and feel different, yet be cohesive enough to where it blends in,” said Drummond.

Moses said Testa will seek the Architectural & Historic Board of Review’s approval of each block of the residential town home area of the development. The area on the west side that was originally going to have apartments is now being eyed for town homes, single-family homes or a “pocket neighborhood,” said Moses.

Based on the feedback he received at the stakeholders’ meeting Moses said they will try to add some color to the town homes that are proposed in the residential area.

Board member Chris Bach said he liked “the proportions and the detail and the scale” of the office building shown in one of the renderings. When Bach shared an opinion on the color of that office building, Drummond emphasized that the presentation was intended to be an “introduction.”

“We’re not looking at details,” he said.

Greg Hannan, community development director for the city of Hudson, said the planning commission is scheduled to discuss the final plan for Downtown Phase II in April and May. The first discussion is expected to happen April 1.

Hannan said if the project receives support from a majority of voters on May 7, “then I’m sure Joel and Brett’s team and council would want to work pretty aggressively toward final pro formas, development agreements, and then more detailed building designs.”

He said he anticipated that Testa would return to the Architectural & Historic Board of Review in May or June.

The renderings can be viewed on the city's web site by going to www.hudson.oh.us and clicking on the Downtown Phase II icon.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.