Chagrined by Chateau’s density, lack of retail

The high density, absence of retail space and narrow sidewalks are among the primary concerns with the Meridia Chateau proposal, according to an analysis by the Redevelopment Agency.

The 120-unit rental complex as proposed by Capodagli Property Company would yield a density of 218 units per acre on the 0.55-acre parcel at the corner of Monroe and Main streets (with 121 parking spaces). Compare that with:
* 143 units per acre at Meridia Water’s Edge (0.75 acres)
* 66 units per acre at Park Square (2.4 acres)
* 51 units per acre at River Place (2.67 acres)

City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier said in a recent interview that the density of the initial proposal is just too high and includes some very small apartments, as many as a quarter being less than 500 square feet. There also were concerns about the lack of a lobby or main entrance along Main Street.

If the density of Meridia Chateau were slightly lower, it could address some concerns, such as wider sidewalks along Main Street and functional apartments. The Redevelopment Agency’s analysis suggests an alternative design of 92 units (167/acre), along with 104 parking spaces, coupled with a total 3,500 square feet of retail in four spaces along Main Street. The 92 units would break down as 20 one-bedrooms, 24 one-bedrooms with a den, and 48 two-bedrooms (compared to 30/30/60 in the initial proposal).

File photo

The design of retail space is critically important, as older retail spaces in town tend to be narrow and deep, he said, while more recent retail is more linear. Pelissier pointed to successful retail spaces at Park Square along Irving Street, which feature wide sidewalks and haven’t had any vacancy issues since opening two years ago. A downtown street should have ground-level retail, and he suggested retail space 20 feet deep, with sidewalks of 16 to 18 feet along Main Street for the five-story building.