Bridge Road apartments in review

Published 6:01 pm Saturday, May 7, 2016

Developer Sam Cohen says he hopes to break ground on Bennett’s Creek Commons, a controversial 144-unit apartment complex at 3345 Bridge Road, by late summer or fall.

“We’re ready to go as soon as we have approval to start,” said Cohen. “We’re going through the process.”

He said he is in the second submittal process of site plans to the city’s planning department for review. He expects to hear from city planners within the next 45 to 60 days.

Email newsletter signup

Cohen has to begin site work no later than Dec. 17, in order to comply with a standard clause on conditional use permits that requires work begin within two years after approval.

The Suffolk City Council approved the project on Dec. 17, 2014, with a 4-2 vote, in spite of recommendations to the contrary by city staff and the Planning Commission.

Cohen said he has redesigned the site to address concerns about having three-story buildings back up to Bridge Road, moving the apartments to the back of the site and putting the pool and clubhouse nearer the front of the property.

The developers had initially planned an office park for the 18 acres but ran into a tough market after building the first office building. At the same time, Suffolk has a growing need for apartments.

“The vacancy rate for apartments in Suffolk is astronomically low right now,” Cohen said. “There is more demand than apartments.”

That’s especially true for millennials, as it has become increasingly difficult to get a mortgage in recent years.