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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    Plan for apartments at Colonel Ledyard School to go before Groton City commission

    Groton ― A plan for apartments at the former Colonel Ledyard School at 120 West St. in the City of Groton will go before the city’s Conservation Commission on Tuesday.

    Bellsite Development, LLC. of Manchester is proposing to renovate the former elementary school and construct new buildings on the 8.32-acre site for a total of 65 apartments.

    Bellsite Development Principal Member Bill Bellock said the proposed apartments, located about a half mile from Electric Boat, are geared towards Electric Boat and Pfizer employees, as well as the general need for multi-family housing in the Groton area.

    A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for the Conservation Commission’s meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at the City Municipal Building. The proposal is also listed under new business.

    Bellock said the plan is to renovate and add a second floor to the existing 20,378-square-foot school building, which was built in 1963 and shuttered in 2008, for use as apartments. The school’s gym would be used for storage space for tenants or other possible tenant amenities.

    The plan is also to build on the site a small building that consists of six attached townhouses, and add a multi-story apartment building ― with two stories in the front and three stories in the back of the building ― to the rear of the school, he said.

    Overall, there will be six three-bedroom townhouse units, 12 two-bedroom units, and 47 one-bedroom units, Bellock said. He said the proposal is designed as market-rate apartments, although the idea of an affordable component has not been completely discounted.

    If the plan is approved by the Conservation Commission, the next step is to go before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

    Bellsite Development, which was chosen as the developer for the town-owned property after a Request for Proposals process, had executed in March 2021 a two-year option agreement with the town to purchase the former school property. The option agreement set a $41,000 purchase price.

    At the Town Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting this past Tuesday, Attorney Bill Sweeney, who represents Bellsite Development, said the plan has gone through a series of revisions with the city. Sweeney requested a 6-month extension to the agreement to allow Bellsite to finish obtaining approvals from the city.

    The Council agreed to extend the option agreement to Sept. 15 and will take a final vote on Tuesday.

    Sweeney said Bellsite hopes to have approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission by the end of the spring and then close on the property in early summer.

    Bellock said he would then start the first phase of renovating the school building in the fall.

    Proposed Gold Star Highway apartments

    The Town Council Committee of the Whole also recommended extending by 18 months PJ&A LLC.’s option agreement, executed in March 2021, to purchase town-owned property at 529 & 517 Gold Star Highway. The Council will take a final vote on Tuesday.

    Sweeney, who also represents PJ&A, said the developer owns two parcels adjacent to the town-owned properties and proposed market-rate apartments for the site. He said in the fall of 2022 a development partner pulled out of the proposal amid a difficult environment of interest rates and material costs.

    Since then PJ&A has talked with a number of state and regional development partners and there is still interest in the property, but more time is needed, Sweeney said.

    He also said the development, anticipated to be 275 apartments, also will need state traffic approval.

    k.drelich@theday.com

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