The developers of the Vertical Harvest project want to add an additional 6,000-7,000 square feet of retail space and 10 other apartments, for a total of 60, to the building they are planning for downtown Westbrook.
City Council received an update on Vertical Harvest’s expansion plans on Monday as well as further updates on projects underway across the city, including repairs to the Cornelia Warren outdoor pool, which have encountered a roadblock.
Work is scheduled to begin in late summer or early fall on the $ 60 million Vertical Harvest building on Mechanic and Main streets, but the city’s planning council is to review the plan and approve. the requested expansion.
Saunders said that at the same time, developers TDB LLC and Vertical Harvest were looking to expand the project: they were looking to “reduce their footprint,” so the building would take up less space and allow additional sidewalks near the parking lot.
The four-story project will include a free city-owned parking garage, an indoor ‘vertical harvest’ farm that will employ more than 55 people, retail space on the first floor and, if approved, 60 apartments. at the top of the structure.
“The agreements are being finalized between the parties, but first the farm will open, then the retail and parking, with the last residential,” Saunders said.
Saunders previously said the project could take up to two years to complete.
The city will pay $ 15 million for the parking lot as part of a deal using tax revenues from the project, the city’s economic development director Dan Stevenson said, which means there will be no d direct impact on taxpayers. The developers will bear $ 40 million of the costs and pay for the maintenance of the garage, which will continue to be municipal land.
The $ 250,000 off Lincoln Street launch project is well underway and is expected to begin once funding officially arrives.
Plans call for a new launch, erosion control, improved parking lots, lighting and removal of invasive species through the use of goats.
“We have invasive species like Japanese knotweed and one of the best ways to get rid of it is to graze goats, ”Saunders said. “They chew it up and pull out the roots, and we have a replanting plan to secure the banks of the river. If you put pesticides or something like that next to the river, you run the risk of putting them in the water, which is why we use goats.
The project will come back to council for final contract approval. Half should be financed by block grants, the other half on the city.
An update on Cornelia Warren’s pool and recreation area was not so promising, as pool repairs were estimated to be between $ 1.6 million and $ 1.8 million, or three times $ 600,000 budgeted to repair the pool and modernize the park.
Built on the hillside, “the pool has been subject to some displacement, settling, leakage, erosion and to proven / A be more problematic than we had envisioned, ”said city administrator Jerre Bryant.
City council will consider options at an upcoming meeting, including continuing repairs to the rest of the park as it works to find more affordable options for the pool.
The city had previously proposed installing a wading pool above a swimming pool due to the costs of the pool, but overwhelming support from residents at the pool shattered that idea.
The Cornelia Warren Outdoor Recreation Area has so far $ 300,000 in local funds as well as another $ 300,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Saunders said the city is working with the conservation fund to get more money for the pool, but those grants won’t be announced until August.
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