by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — Gossens Bachman Architects of Montpelier submitted a zoning permit application February 11 for a three-story building to be constructed on the lot adjacent to Montpelier Discount Beverage. The land is owned by the City of Montpelier and the building would be owned by Mowatt Revocable Trust — owners of the Montpelier Discount Beverage building at 12 Main Street.
The new structure would be put in 16 Main Street alongside The Drawing Board. Plans are contingent on the current beverage building being demolished and other factors, such as re-drawing the lot lines between 12 Main Street and 16 Main Street, according to the application. This would make it a straight shot for the planned continuation of the proposed bike path connecting the envisioned One Taylor Street Transit Center across the river and along to Barre Street. Prior to this proposal, the City and Mowatt Trust had been at odds after the City initiated condemnation proceedings against the beverage center building.
“We went back and looked at trying to build something that financially makes sense,” Jay White, trustee with Thomas T. Mowatt Revocable Trust, told The Bridge. “It may actually be better to have some additional square footage to lease.”
The new building is budgeted at a cost of $3,033,126.00 and be 3,400 square feet by 4,600 square feet on the first floor with a total of 12,800 square feet by 16,200 square feet for the whole building, according to the application. It would be classified as a mixed use, non-separated (Mercantile) business on the first floor and business on the second and third floors.
The $3,033,126 price tag does not include permitting, permit fees, utility fees, contingencies and winter conditions. However, there are lots of things that have to be done before building can occur, including a Design Review Committee hearing and a Development Review Board hearing. The Design Review Board hearing will be held on February 16 at 5 p.m. and the Development Review Board hearing will be held March 7 at 7 p.m.
“The point is hopefully to move forward in a way that allows Montpelier Beverage to continue and this may be it,” White said.
This plan would apparently close the chapter on the eminent domain proceedings the City Council had put in motion against the property housing Montpelier Discount Beverage. “We are excited that he is proposing this and if it works it is going to be a great solution to this problem,” said City Manager William Fraser. “It will be a complement to the project we are trying to complete (transit center and bike path). The building would also be consistent with the downtown streetscape.”
Asked by The Bridge if any neighbors have concerns about the new building, Fraser said, “the application just got filed. The beginning of the public process is now.” He also said an earlier proposal with fewer stories had been okayed in the planning process.