Unilever HQ Redevelopment Proposals Go to Public Hearing
On Monday, Feb. 3 the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) will hold a public hearing at which the public can weigh in on two applications concerning the future of former Unilever headquarters. The first will be an application for a brewery and restaurant and the second will an application to put condos on the property. The hearing will be at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
Ever since the former Unilever headquarters was sold in summer 2019, there had been speculation about the future uses of the property. The total property encompasses about 20 acres at the intersection of Hull and John streets and has been vacant for almost six years.
Earlier this month Clinton’s newest potential member was announced: Station’s Landing. The proposed development at the long-vacant Unilever property consists of a brewery, a recreation area, residences, and a commercial work area. A website from the developer, stationslanding.com, features renderings and more information about the project.
In 2019 the PZC granted the property owners permission to use 217,471 square feet of 312,345 headquarter building for an indoor recreation use. Now, the PZC will weigh the merits of putting a brewery and condos on the property.
According to the application from 1 John Street Clinton, LLC, the developer intends to put a 24,321 square foot brewery and restaurant into a portion of the large headquarter building on John Street. The brewery is Kinsmen Brewing Co., which is an active and popular brewery operated and located in Milldale. According to a drawing attached to the application the project is titled “Kinsmen II.”
Plans for the development attached to the application depict a large taproom, banquet hall, brewing area, and kitchen on the first floor in addition to offices and storage areas. The proposal features a large outdoor patio on the first floor and an upstairs with a mezzanine and lounge area. The application states the brewery will be open seven days a week.
The second application the PZC will hold a public hearing on is one for condos to be placed into a former office space on the property at 9-15 John Street. The application states the total acreage for that portion of the property is 1.65 acres and the building is 20,654 square feet. The condo application was filed by 9-15 John Street Clinton, LLC, which has the same owners as 1 John Street Clinton, LLC. The agent on both applications is Christopher Gagnon from BL Companies, LLC, and the owner for both is listed as Michael Massimino.
At a regular PZC meeting on Jan. 13 the PZC voted to approve changes to the town’s Transit Oriented Development Overlay Zone that were proposed by the developer of the Unilever property.
One of the changes the commission voted to make was to reduce the minimum square footage of any dwelling to 350 square feet from 500 square feet. Some commission members felt that 350 square feet was too small for an apartment, however the motion to approve the change passed by a vote of five in favor (Eddie Alberino, Walter Beau Clark, Mary Ellen Dahlgren, Mike Knudsen, and Adam Moore) versus two against (Alan Kravitz and Amandeep Singh).
The two applications will be weighed by the PZC separately. At the hearing, the public will be able to speak in favor, against, or neutrally about the applications. The applicant may make a more detailed presentation about the proposals and may respond to questions from the commission members. If the commission members feel they have received enough information, they may vote to close the public hearings or may continue them to a later date. Once a public hearing is closed, the application is eligible for decision, which usually comes at a subsequent regular meeting by the commission.