Salem - In the coming year, a new roundabout at Salem Four Corners could be in place to ease the traffic burden for the approximately 14,000 motorists who pass through the intersection daily.
A new building planned for 24 Hartford Road (Route 85), just off Salem Four Corners, could also establish a new living and shopping experience in the town's best-known area.
Zito Builders Inc., a contractor based in Old Saybrook, has been issued a foundation permit and is in the final stages of obtaining a building permit for a 16,000-square-foot building that would house up to six commercial spaces and 10 one-bedroom apartments.
The planned commercial part of the property, with spaces ranging from 660 square feet to 1,800 square feet, would offer space possibly for a bank, restaurants or other businesses, First Selectman Kevin Lyden said.
The apartment plan calls for such features as: key-card entry, elevator access and a modern look with granite kitchen countertops and stainless steel appliances, according to Ted Zito, owner of Zito Builders Inc.
Construction could begin by the end of the month, and the building is scheduled to be completed by summer 2012 at the earliest, Zito said.
Lyden said the project would give the town something it has been lacking.
"We need more apartments in town. We have a lot of people looking for that," Lyden said. "Whether they're younger or older, it will be right in the area where we have restaurants, stores and the bank."
Meanwhile, construction on the roundabout, which town and state officials have said would ease traffic issues at the busy intersection of routes 82 and 85, is scheduled to begin next year, Lyden said. The Department of Transportation is still working on the project.
The plans for the Zito building call for the parking lot to connect with the lot that houses Two Brothers Pizza, Chelsea Groton Bank and Babe's Country Deli and More, among other businesses. A drive-through window will also be built on the side of one of the commercial spaces, to attract a business such as Dunkin' Donuts, Zito said.
Motorists will also have access to the new site from Hartford Road (Route 85) and through the back of the property on Center Street.
So far, Zito said his company has started stripping out the topsoil and pumping the septic system area. In the past, he said his company has worked on industrial and office buildings and built multifamily buildings.
"I felt there was a need for small, quality apartments," Zito said of the new project. "We felt the location was very convenient. It's a growing area."
Zito said he has had preliminary discussions on the project with a number of potential tenants, but talks will likely go further once the building is closer to completion.