Meeting set on Obici site

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The city’s Economic Development Authority hopes to have the old Obici Hospital site rezoned by March, Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said in Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the authority.

The site, currently zoned for general commercial development, would be rezoned to mixed-use development under the plan.

After languishing for years, part of the North Main Street site was sold last month to Waverton Associates, which plans to build a 224-apartment complex on about 14 acres at the back portion of the site. In November, the EDA approved an agreement with Kimley-Horn to provide a variety of services for the property, including site assessments, a traffic impact study and more.

Email newsletter signup

Hughes said the front and north side of the development would be used for commercial uses.

Under the “best-case scenario,” the rezoning request could be ready to go to the Planning Commission in February. If that body makes a recommendation immediately, it would go to City Council in March.

Hughes said about 300 nearby property owners will receive letters this week inviting them to a community meeting on Jan. 28 at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School from 6 to 8 p.m.

There will be no formal presentation at the meeting, he said. “It will be more interactive, more one-on-one opportunities.”

The project likely will involve a new stoplight at Northgate Lane, which will be the main entrance to the development. A raised median will be constructed along North Main Street in front of the site.

Hughes said a raised median would be preferable along the entire length of North Main Street, but it’s not currently possible.

“It’s a right-of-way acquisition nightmare, and a funding issue,” he said.

In other business, the EDA approved an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $17,000 to Pacorini, which plans to operate a 150,000-square-foot coffee import warehouse operation at the Northgate Logistics Center.

The EDA also approved the distribution of an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $1.1 million to Unilever for investments the company has made at its Suffolk Lipton Tea plant.