After remaining vacant for years now, the former Jordan’s Meats site appears to be on the fast track for the development of a hotel, restaurant and residential condos. That part of the development is the first phase in a two phase process. No time was given for the start of the second phase. The address is 207-209 Fore Street.
Mark Woglom, president, of Opechee Construction Corp. ( N.H.) requested that the planning board put the process on a fast track at a meeting yesterday afternoon. The reason given for that request is that the lease of the restaurant expires about a year from this spring and the Sebage Brew Pub on Middle Street in the Old Port wants to be able to move right in to their complex at that time. The planned 180-seat restaurant will be located on the first floor and space will be split evenly between it and the hotel. 7,022 square feet will be dedicated to the restaurant according to a memo dated March 5 from the Old Port Hospitality to the planning board. There will be an outdoor cafe as well. The entrance will be on Fore Street.
The planned building is of brick and concrete block “oriented” to Fore Street. Wolgom, acknowledged that the planning staff had requested that “enhancements” be added to the outside structure of the building. Floors two to five are to be occupied by the hotel. The sixth story of the 65 ft. building will be dedicated to 12 residential condos.
During the public comment, Federal Street resident Hugh Nazor said: “I think its wonderful. It brings feet into town.” He asked Woglom if there were a possibility for “limited use by the neighborhood for the swimming pool and training rooms.” Woglom later responded that was not likely since this is part of the Hilton chain and they are have very strict rules governing public use of property.
Hill resident Jamie Parker said he found the proposed development “generally favorable. The developers have paid attention to details. It’s a welcoming space.” But he did take issue with the lack of attention paid to Franklin Street in view of the recent work of the Franklin Street Study group. Parker went on to say he would like some interface on Franklin Street – not just on Fore Street.
Another public comment came from Jeff Grinvalsky of Washington Avenue. He said he was not thrilled to see a hotel go up there.
It is anticipated that a public hearing on the matter will be coming up shortly. Chair Bill Hall recommended that notices of the pubic hearing be sent to members of the Franklin Street Study group because some members may not abut the former Jordan’s Meat property. A neighborhood public hearing could well be at a local school. The planning board will hold its public hearing in April.