Northampton Planning Board to hear plans for new hotel, car dealerships, bank branch
NORTHAMPTON — The Planning Board is slated to hold public hearings tonight on three significant commercial projects in the city, including a new hotel on Conz Street pitched by Hotel Northampton owner Mansour Ghalibaf.
Also on the docket are hearings for a pair of side-by-side car dealerships at the former Kollmorgen Electro-Optical site on King Street and a plan to raze the Bank of America bank branch, also on King Street, to make room for a new bank branch and apartment or condominium building.
Two months ago, Ghalibaf announced plans to develop a $10 million, 108-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott hotel next to the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s headquarters on Conz Street.
The four-floor, 55,000-square-foot Fairfield Inn — and an accompanying 109-space parking lot — would be constructed on a 2.3-acre site between the Gazette and a Quality Inn & Suites hotel. Gazette officials decline to say what Ghalibaf is paying for the property until the deal closes, though Ghalibaf has said the $10 million project includes the land purchase.
The Planning Board has scheduled an 8:15 p.m. public hearing to review Ghalibaf’s request for a special permit. The meeting takes place in the Council Chambers in the Puchalski Municipal Building.
The Fairfield Inn would use the newspaper’s existing delivery and service driveway for vehicle access, according to plans filed with the city’s Office of Planning and Development. The hotel and Gazette would share the driveway. The project calls for sidewalks to separate pedestrians from vehicles and a crosswalk across the driveway in front of the hotel.
The hotel would face north in the direction of the newspaper’s parking lot. Hotel parking would be located on three sides of the building and on a portion of land north of the shared driveway close to Conz Street. Landscaping is proposed along Conz Street and throughout the property.
Fairfield rooms fall in a middle price range, cheaper than the higher-end Hotel Northampton downtown but more expensive than the other existing hotel rooms in the city, Ghalibaf said in making his announcement in September. The hotel will include a mix of suites and regular rooms with king- or queen-sized beds. It will have an indoor pool.
Marriott recently redesigned its Fairfield Inn properties using a so-called Generation 4 prototype, which includes a new room layout and color schemes of tangerine, azul and accents of lime green.
King Street projects
The Planning Board will also hold a public hearing at 7:45 p.m. about a project proposed by Patrick Goggins. The city real estate developer is seeking permission to redevelop a 1-acre site at 79 King St. that houses a Bank of America branch.
Plans call for demolishing the current bank branch and constructing a new branch and an apartment or condo building with space for first-floor offices at the rear of the property.
The 3,700-square-foot bank building would be closer to the street, with parking and a drive-through in the back. The bank’s current branch is separated from King Street by a parking lot, and has additional parking behind the building.
The four-floor, 14,000-square-foot apartment building at the back of the site, close to a city rail trail, would include eight apartments and offices. A 25-space parking lot would separate the two structures.
At 9 p.m. the board will hold a public hearing about a request from Cosenzi Automotive Realty group.
The group is seeking permission to demolish the 90,000-square-foot Kollmorgen building at 347 King St. and construct a pair of auto dealerships on the 5-acre site. The buildings would be next to each other and would house Northampton Volkswagen, which would move from its Damon Road location, and Country Hyundai.
The showrooms would have approximately 18,400 and 17,800 square feet of space and a combined 500 parking spaces.