About a half dozen Middle Street business owners met with Greg Kirsch, VP, of the company that is developing the former Jordan Meat plant, last night at the Public Market in Monument Square. The meeting which lasted almost 2 1/2 hours at time grew intense as owners or their representatives of businesses on Middle Street repeatedly expressed concerns about parking, landscaping and traffic flow issues that the construction of the new Hampton Inn will pose for their small businesses. The entrance to the Inn will be on Fore Street rather than on India Street as it currently is.
According to company attorney Kirsch, the complex expects to open by Memorial Day of 2011. Because of that timeline, the construction of the complex has been on the fast track. That means that on April 1st a chain link fence will go up around much of the perimeter of the property which will remain up almost until spring of next year. Shortly after the fence is erected, demolition of the property will start. However, there will be ample public access to the Middle Street businesses during that time Kirsch tried to assure them.
Mary Paine, one of the owners of the Pepperclub Restaurant said: “We have been waiting for 5 years for this development to happen. We have lots of questions and concerns about the phases of construction. We don’t want to be out of business in one year.”
The business owners expressed concern when they were told there would be no parking provided for customers of Sebago Brew Pub who will be the restaurant in the complex. Kirsch tried to assuage their concerns by reminding them of the nearby location of the Ocean Gateway Garage and that more and more people are walking nowadays.
Drew Swenson, developer of the Ocean Gateway Garage said: “I like the plan. They are very sensitive to the neighborhood businesses and traffic flow given construction inevitablty impinges on those entities and individuals.” Swenson went on to say: “We are lucky they stepped up to do this project during this recession.”
Business owners asked Kirsch that they be kept informed by email of construction plans that will affect their businesses. There will be a planning board public hearing on April 13th.