Note that the proposed development at the corner of Water and King streets isn’t to scale in the video and that substantial changes to the design may occur in light of last night’s neighborhood meeting.
By Jesse Wood
Stakeholders of the proposed student housing and parking deck development at the corner of King and Water streets held a “neighborhood” meeting (under the town’s new Planned Development process) to inform nearby property owners about the proposed development.
The property is located in the Marketplace building, the green building in between Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub and the Mellow Mushroom on King Street. Years ago, the property housed the social services department and an A&P grocery store.
The $17 to $18 million project is being developed by John Winkler, Kenneth Wilcox and Roger Wright.
The preliminary proposal calls for 180 bedrooms (100 one-bed; 31 two-bed; and 6 three-bed apartments) above roughly 18,000 square feet of retail fronting King, Howard and Water streets. The King Street elevation is 46 feet tall.
The embedded parking deck would accommodate 320 to 335 parking spaces – with more than half of those spots slated for paid public parking. McLaurin Parking, which manages the town’s parking, will manage the parking in this project. A traffic engineer hired by the developers acknowledged that traffic would increase with the completion of this project and said that studies estimate one trip every two minutes.
“We are just excited about it and hope you are too,” Winkler said.
“This project will provide significant additional parking to the Town of Boone,” Winkler said. “The additional parking area will probably double the available parking currently available for the business community. That is part of the idea behind it.”
Entrances are planned off of Water Street and Howard Street. With the Town of Boone currently working on the Howard Street improvement project and with the town taking control of Water Street from the NCDOT as proposed concepts are on the table, the developers are working with town officials to ensure – as Town Manager John Ward said – that these three plans “blend together.”
Some of those in attendance spoke out against the project, particularly the size of the building.
David Welsh, a real estate agent who lives in downtown, said that he didn’t like the project and that this proposal contrasts from the small-town feel of local shops and restaurants that his family likes to patron when walking downtown.
“This is destroying historical downtown,” Welsh said. “I don’t like it.”
Jason Gaston of Valor Engineering said on Wednesday that the owners are in the process of amending the plans, including a potential substantial change to the height, after hearing the feedback last night.
The developers have already met with the Downtown Boone Development Association to discuss the proposal and hear feedback from the downtown business community and downtown property owners. The DBDA members were again invited to last night’s meeting.
In September, Gaston said that developers were looking to secure permits this spring and begin construction possibly this summer.