New conceptual plans in Bedford seek 200 luxury mixed-use residential units

BEDFORD — Developers of Market and Main, which previously pitched the idea of adding 290 luxury mixed-use residential units to the retail complex, have scaled back their conceptual design to 200 units.

Preliminary plans for a movie theater at the complex also are back on the drawing board after being eliminated in an earlier version.

Although artist’s renderings depict a Regal Cinema logo, planning director Becky Hebert said she has heard no formal announcement from the movie theater.

Richard Grover, Regal’s vice president of communications, did not return a phone call and email Thursday.

Town planners are expected to review the newly revised conceptual plans for Market and Main on Jan. 13.

In October, the project’s developer submitted conceptual plans that eliminated a planned hotel, theater and select retail space from the project and added almost 300 luxury mixed-use residential units. Several residents and planning board members raised concerns about the drastic shift in plans for the mixed-use development at 125 South River Road.

In late December, however, Encore Enterprises submitted revised conceptual plans that contained the theater, a reduced number of luxury mixed-use residential units and a 90-room hotel, which would come in a later phase.

If Encore submits a formal site plan, the company would need to secure a waiver to allow residential housing on the property. Multi-family dwellings are not permitted in that area of South River Road, except for workforce housing.

In the most recent plans, Jeffrey Kevan, senior project engineer with TFMoran, Inc., wrote that the residences’ closeness to shopping, restaurants and entertainment, as well as easy access to commuter routes, would make them attractive to professional adults. The luxury mixed-use residential would be more appropriate for the Market and Main site, which already is characterized by dense development, compared to other areas of Bedford with more rural character.

Hebert questioned the newest concept, noting that the initial plans approved by the planning board several years ago included no housing.

“The size, scale and design of the multifamily mixed use buildings are not in keeping with the planning board’s architectural guidelines and the general character of Bedford,” Hebert wrote in a memo to TFMoran.

Three of the proposed buildings are five stories tall, which Hebert argues is vastly different from most other buildings on South River Road.

“Staff would suggest limiting the building height to four stories or less,” she said.

Hebert stressed that the plan should include a minimum of 25 percent workforce housing units, which is required by the zoning ordinance for multifamily housing.

Mike Nelson, senior vice president and director of leasing with Encore Enterprises, was unavailable Thursday to comment on the newest plans or the possible inclusion of Regal Cinema in the project.

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