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Second Frontier House sketch presented

by jmaloni
Sat, Jan 19th 2008 09:00 am

by Joshua Maloni

A 31-foot Center Street addition and a 50-foot apartment complex on Ridge Street highlight the newest Frontier House sketch, as presented to the Village of Lewiston Planning Board on Monday. Architect Timothy E. Kupinski, RA, of the EI Team, presented the four-person panel with an updated draft of developer Richard Hastings' vision for the dormant historical building.

"What we're doing is, we're asking to continue the sketch process with you," Kupinski told the board, indicating his client is not yet ready to submit a preliminary plat.

In this drawing, the west side of the Frontier House would be connected via bridge to a new, 31-foot, brick and stone building. That four-story structure wraps L-shaped (south to east) to Ridge Street, where it connects to the 50-foot complex. On the Center Street side's ground floor, there would be a retail store or stores. Going around the L, behind the new front building and under the back building, lies roughly 40 parking spaces.

Those spots are covered, situated below the first floor, which includes 13 apartments stretching from the new Center Street building into the Ridge Street development. One additional guest apartment would be created within the Frontier House.

The second floor boasts another 13 apartments. The third floor is the top level on the 31-foot building. Instead of rooms, it offers a terrace.

"Everybody is offering an outdoor terrace," Kupinski said.

Behind the building and extending on to Ridge Street is the continuation of the third floor, and 11 more apartments. That pattern continues on the fourth floor with its 11 apartments. The fifth floor will feature four, custom-made penthouses.

Each one-bedroom apartment measures approximately 800 square feet.

In the sketch's first version, an additional building was penciled in on the east side of the Frontier House, next to the Little Yellow House. That component has been eliminated, and the current driveway (and former McDonald's drive-through) will continue as private parking for renters and their guests. Another 12-13 parking spaces sit on that land track.

With regard to density, the new buildings and the Frontier House would consume 50 percent of the two-street site. Construction would include white porches with simple spindles. Refurbishment could include the restoration of the landmark's rails.

The cost to build is relative, as this project is still conceptual.

As to the preliminary plat, the Planning Board requested a sketch showing the project with the adjoining pink storage building (west side) and Little Yellow House (east side), so as to gain additional perspective.

"We need it presented in a more elaborate way," board member David Giusiana said.

Members said they were somewhat taken aback by the "unprecedented" project's magnitude and needed time to study its viability.

"We're ready to listen," Kupinski said. "It's not something we want an answer on (now)."

Planning Board member and engineer Kristin Gamble said she likes the concept, but "I'm just overwhelmed with the massiveness."

"I think there is a lot of input ... that is going to happen," she said.

In terms of potential problems, the biggest so far seems to be a lack of parking spaces. Village Code requires two per apartment complex. The current drawing only offers 53, or one per unit. That will be addressed, Kupinski said. He also noted that, despite its "overwhelming" height, the elevation of the Ridge Street building is permissible, as it's offset by setback distance from the road.

Gamble told Kupinski he'd have to fill out a long-form environmental assessment form and an environmental impact review (as required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act), so as to reveal the plan's impact on its surrounding neighborhood and the village in general.

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