The Fall River based developer who purchased a large swath of land on McClellan Highway and plans to develop a hotel, restaurant and retail space briefed residents at Monday night’s Orient Heights Neighborhood Council meeting on the $32 million project.
First Bristol Corp., known for the development of Hotels and high-end residential units in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut purchased 415 McClellan Hwy. for $3.75 million in February.
First Bristol representatives said the company has filed plans with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and plans to build a five story, 177 rooms Hilton Garden Inn hotel. After the hotel is built, First Bristol will still have approximately 10,000 sq. ft. to work with and plans to build space for a casual dining restaurant and retail opportunities.
The front of the hotel and future dining and retail opportunities will face the neighborhood along Boardman Street with parking in the rear along McClellan Highway.
There was some concern at Monday’s meeting, especially from Leyden Street residents, over traffic concerns. The intersection at McClellan Highway and Boardman Street is notorious for gridlock and makes getting out of Leyden Street during rush hour nearly impossible for residents living there.
Residents expressed concerns that the hotel’s two vehicle access driveways on Boardman Street might add to the congestion that already exists. The developer for their part said they would work to improve traffic conditions by increasing the lanes leading to the highway by one. This would result in two left turn lanes to move more traffic off Boardman Street and southbound onto McClellan. The developers would also create one right turn only lane for vehicles heading northbound.
Leyden Street residents at the meeting felt this would worsen and not improve traffic conditions on their street. Residents feared that now they would have to cut across three lanes of traffic to make a left off Leyden Street and onto Boardman.
However, OHNC Vice Chair Joseph Ruggiero suggested traffic issues on Leyden Street might be solved by reversing the direction of the portion of Leyden that dumps onto Boardman Street.
Under this scenario Leyden Street would remain the same from Bennington to Breed Street with that traffic turning left down Breed Street. The other half of Leyden Street would be turned around and traffic would then head towards Breed where motorists would take a right down Breed Street.
The developer said he would take a look at that suggestion to see if it is feasible.
The $32 million project would create 80 permanent part and full time jobs and 250 construction jobs.
Representatives said the developer expects the permitting and community process to take 6-9 months and about a year to construct. The design showed to the community is an attractive urban design versus the standard hotels one might see on the side of the highway.
First Bristol bought the 6.2-acre parcel from Sawyer Enterprises, the Boston firm that owns the W Hotel and Residences in the Theater District back in February.
Over the years First Bristol has compiled an impressive portfolio that includes retail shopping plazas, professional office building like the Bank of America and GE buildings in Warwick, R.I., hotels like the Marriott Residence Inn in Middletown, R.I. which was ranked the number one hotel by Trip Advisor and residential developments that have helped spur a resurgence of Fall River.