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Manchester development unveiled

A group of Manchester residents representing the Manchester Community Council (MCC) has finally met with the developers who plan to rebuild the community’s downtown, with both sides agreeing that less is more when it comes to an “urban” look.

The committee reported back to the entire council at its monthly meeting last week.

Private land planner Bill Palmer and developer David Hopkins discussed their plans to bring new commercial space and upscale condominiums to downtown Manchester several months ago.

Hopkins, of Hoppet Design and Construction, Inc., is in the process of purchasing the Past and Presents building, as well as the Manchester Food Center, along with Mamma Java and Go Figure.

Palmer represents clients interested in the commercial property kitty-corner from Hopkins block.

“My concept is Nantucket-Martha’s Vineyard Marine,” Hopkins said, including shingles, white trim, gables, trellises, arbors and flower boxes.

Hopkins said he plans to keep the signage on the building to a minimum and place overhead utility wires in the ground.

Hopkins said the new structure will contain several 5,700- to 7,000-square-foot commercial spaces on the ground floor, six condos on the second floor and two on the third.

He said he is well aware of the 35-foot height restriction in Manchester.

The eight condos will be between 1,200 and 2,600 square feet, Hopkins said, and sell for approximately $475,000.

Gated, covered parking will be provided for residents, while retail parking will remain exactly the same.

Palmer, who lived in Manchester for years, said his client, John Clark, envisions 10,225 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, six condos on the second and six on the third.

He said the condos would sell for approximately $350,000.

The project includes 34 underground parking spaces and 19 outside the building.

“The design theme is not quite the same as (Hopkins),” Palmer said, “but there are some similarities,” including gables and arches.

“Apparently both developers have their challenges with getting all the details approved by the county, but the issues seem to be workable and I think both projects will move forward,” said MCC Secretary John Winslow. “We sense that the developers are willing to work with the community to listen to our concerns and are making an effort to integrate their projects into our community.”

A motion was passed to form an architectural design review committee for the commercial district.

Developers will likely give residents an update at the next MCC meeting in late November.

New officer elections will also commence at the November meeting. According to Winslow, chair Bob Ballard will become the “past chair” and have that role as a member at large and Ron Robinson will most likely assume the role as chair.

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