WILMINGTON, MA — The construction of a new retail plaza on the corner of Ballardvale Street and Route 125 is likely to begin this spring.
The applicant for the proposed 9,912-square foot, single-story retail building at 196 Ballardvale Street was recently in front of the Board of Appeals to receive two special permits.
“The plan is to have a retail plaza with a drive-thru end cap — some sort of burger joint/fast food restaurant — and possibly a second smaller sit-down restaurant — with the remaining balance being retail space,” project engineer Ben Osgood told the Board.
The project, which would contain up to 6 individual small retail units, will have 96 parking spaces, of which 50 will be rented back to the adjacent large office building at 200 Ballardvale Street.
“This is in an industrial area,” explained Osgood. “There’s very limited services for the people there and for that side of Wilmington. Part of the goal is to provide employees in the industrial area places to eat and shop, as well as the residents in the area, along with people getting off the highway.”
The Board of Appeals previously issued the same special permits for a larger, more intense version of the project three years ago. The developer is now ready to build, but the original permits have expired, so the applicant is looking to re-permit. The project has only changed slightly since the board’s past approval — the building has actually decreased approximately 2,000 square feet in size, its drive-thru has been relocated, and its parking has been “tweaked.” In addition, the project will no longer relocate existing utility lines.
“This is basically 206 Ballardvale Street 2.0,” said applicant Paul Kneeland, manager of Mapvale LLC, referring to the plaza he built across the street that houses Pancho’s Cantina, Sweet Pizza, Hair Cuttery, and more. “We didn’t want to bring [196 Ballardvale Street] online until [206 Ballardvale Street] was fully tenanted. There was a delay with the Pancho’s restaurant that put us beyond the permit terminiation three years ago. It didn’t make sense building another speculative building without having the specualtive building I just built not be fully tenanted.”
A new drainage system will be constructed on the property, which will be serviced by municipal water and sewer. Electric and telecommunication services will come from existing overhead services which cross the property.
The Board of Appeals unanimously voted to continue the matter until its March 13 meeting. The Board would like recommendations from other pertinent town departments and boards, including the Planning Board, in hand prior to taking a vote on the special permit requests. According to the applicant, the Planning Board is waiting, in part, for a third-party sewer study to be completed, before issuing its recommendation.
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