Lowell Sun | By Alana Melanson
May 15, 2017
CHELMSFORD — The Planning Board has approved a major modification that will add a fourth floor of units to a downtown housing development.
The board approved the special permit modification for the Grist Mill Apartments in a 5-2 vote. The approval will increase the units from 54 to 70 at the market-rate rental development.
WE Acquisitions LLC, connected to Concord-based Winstanley Enterprises, was granted a special permit last summer to construct a three-floor, 54-unit apartment development off Cushing Place. When Winstanley Enterprises found the numbers weren’t working, it partnered with Princeton Enterprises to reorganize the construction more efficiently.
That included eliminating larger units in favor of more one- and two-bedroom units, lowering floor-to-floor heights, slightly reducing the overall footprint of the building and replacing a peaked roof with a mansard roof to conceal an additional floor of units.
Community Development Director Evan Belansky said the developers recently met with the Historical Commission and agreed to some aesthetic changes including enhancements to cornice profile and moulding, window casings and shed dormers in order to bring the $16 million new construction in line with more traditional architecture in town.
“So we already have an approved version of this building that is basically modern contemporary urban architecture in the center of town, and the proposal that’s in front of us is a building that is visually no larger, has been modified to be consistent with our in-town architecture,” said board member Nancy Araway, who voted in favor of the modification.