Developers, residents talk proposed Alta Marlborough project at public hearing

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Developers, residents talk proposed Alta Marlborough project at public hearing
A rendering shows the proposed Alta Marlborough development currently envisioned for the corner of Lincoln and Mechanic Street in Marlborough. (Photo/via City of Marlborough)

MARLBOROUGH – A public hearing on Monday saw stakeholders share a variety of opinions and perspectives on a proposed 10,000 square-foot mixed use project at the corner of Lincoln and Mechanic Streets in Marlborough. 

Taking place within the City Council’s larger May 9 meeting, this hearing came a matter of weeks after plans were filed for this project, which would be dubbed Alta Marlborough. 

Appearing in public session this week, representatives of Alta Marlborough LLC (Wood Partners) spoke favorably on their proposed 276-unit development.

“Alta Marlborough has the opportunity to be a transformative project, revitalizing a prominent eyesore property and providing a great public benefit to make the Rail Trail more accessible to the entire city,” said attorney Brian Falk, representing Alta.

Supporters share thoughts 

Falk said that the project’s retail component had been designed with the entire city in mind, adding that all required parking would be provided onsite, with a planned parking garage containing 448 spaces.

Managing Director of Wood Partners Jim Lambert said that there is a great need for housing in Marlborough and in MetroWest in general, arguing that this project would be very appropriate in its envisioned location in Marlborough.

“This is a very under-utilized parcel historically and we are proposing a mixed-use project tonight that we think can revitalize not only this parcel but also help push forward the downtown,” Lambert said.

Arthur Bergeron also celebrated the project, saying that it uniquely has “real horsepower” behind it.

Resident Steve Peck said that this was one of the “most beautiful” projects he had seen in a long time.

Jared Saad of Canty Brothers Construction, which is located across the street from the proposed project, was also supportive.

“The potential project at Alta would be the most positive and beneficial project to come to Marlborough since the Apex Center project,” Saad said, referencing the sprawling Apex development off Route 20.

Residents note concerns

As many backed Alta’s proposal, not all residents were in favor of the project. 

Bill Burke opposed the plans, noting traffic concerns.

Burke said that the prospect of having more than 300 cars entering the area around the Alta Marlborough site would cause a huge surge in traffic in the area.

“I think we can all agree here that the Lincoln Street corridor is probably one of the most if not the most congested areas in town,” Burke said.

A number of other residents noted concerns over traffic and parking without explicitly expressing opposition to the project. 

Joyce Stewart said that she was worried about parking in the area, which she said is already tight on weekends.

Stewart predicted that, if the average unit in the Alta project is occupied by a family with two cars, there would be a shortfall of 104 parking spaces from the currently planned onsite parking.

Falk answered that there are many single units envisioned in the project. Those, he predicted, would mostly have no more than one car. 

Developers plan balloon test

Wood Partners’ Alta Marlborough plans were filed with the City Council last month, with developers seeking a special permit and a zoning amendment to allow their project to move forward. 

The City Council referred the matter to the Urban Affairs Committee and the Planning Board on April 11. 

As the process continues, the Planning Board, on April 25, did approve a favorable recommendation for the zoning amendment. 

In the meantime, developers now also plan to conduct a balloon test on May 18, flying balloons at their envisioned Alta Marlborough site to demonstrate the height of proposed buildings. 

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