HUDSON — City Council in the coming week will meet with the developer for Downtown Phase II to discuss ideas for changes to the project.
Council on Tuesday discussed the feedback they had received on the proposal from three public meetings and brainstormed ideas that they wanted to present to Joel Testa of Testa Companies, the project developer. Council hosted the public meetings following the defeat of a May 7 advisory vote on the plan to develop 20 acres of land west of Morse Road.
Testa will be at council’s next meeting on Tuesday, June 18, to review the ideas with legislators. That meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 27 E. Main St.
"While I hope we can move ahead with some decisions on changes we want to make; most importantly in my mind is we need to get it right," said Council President Bill Wooldredge (At Large). "Whatever we do, we need to get it right."
Council member Dr. J. Daniel Williams (At Large) told the Hub-Times about some of the ideas that were discussed by council on Tuesday evening: eliminating about 9,000 square feet of office space and about 20 apartment units planned for an area north of Owen Brown Street; convert some of the three-story office buildings into two-story buildings, which would reduce the amount of office space; incorporate more green space into the project; and have only residential structures north of Owen Brown.
Council will discuss these ideas and other ones with Testa on June 18. After that, Williams told Assistant City Manager Thom Sheridan he would like to have Testa and city staff provide "the cost implications" in connection with some of these ideas by July 9.
"We would also probably have a couple of plan scenarios showing different housing types, if that’s what [Testa] agrees to, and then we’ll work with our staff on the [financial] feasibility of it, and then also [Testa]," said Sheridan. "We’ll be working with him trying to come to that perfect point."
Sheridan told council that he felt the items they were discussing followed the tenets of the city’s comprehensive plan. Those guiding principles include: housing diversity; quality office space, but not an emphasis on retail; pedestrian connectivity and preservation of Hudson’s character.
Williams told the Hub-Times that council also asked city staff to put together a Request for Qualifications document to potentially seek out an owner’s representative to oversee the construction process.
The Downtown Phase II plan currently calls for construction of 138,000 square feet of office space, 63 town homes, 50 condominium flats above businesses and a 250- to 300-space parking structure.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.