By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – After much deliberation, the City Council approved at its meeting Dec. 17 a proposal to rezone and redevelop the 109-acre former Hewlett Packard (HP) campus on Forest Street into a district that will allow for commercial office space, retail shops and restaurants, a hotel, and residential units.
Atlantic Management of Framingham, represented by Attorney David Gadbois, is proposing to change the former HP facility into a mixed-use overlay district that would allow for multiple uses, which Gadbois said is the current trend in suburban commercial real estate development. The proposal calls for adding to existing office space at the site, and constructing 350 luxury apartments, 150 hotel rooms, shops and a restaurant or pub.
During the past several weeks, the Urban Affairs Committee has reviewed the proposed project with the help of Mark Racicot, manager of the land use division at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Several of Racicot's suggestions offered for consideration relate to traffic, parking and water resource protection. The committee had voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposal to the full council.
In other business, the proposed conveyance of a portion of city-owned property at 93 Framingham Road, the former Frank Walker estate, to the Melanson Development Group was denied by councilors. Neighbors in the area have voiced opposition to the developer's plan, which would have included open space and a subdivision on the property.
The developer had also offered to purchase for sewer purposes a parcel of city-owned land on the site for $36,000 while still allowing the city access to the site.
Ward 2 City Councilor Richard? Jenkins recently held a neighborhood meeting to address concerns over the proposal.
The estate has been the topic of at least two conceptual development plans in 2010 and 2011, both of which include remodeling the Walker House into condominiums.