WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on March 6 will consider preliminary and final plans for a proposed $25 million Colby College downtown student residential complex on part of The Concourse that will include a retail use on the ground floor.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the council chamber at The Center at 93 Main St.
Colby officials have said they want to break ground on the project this spring and have the five-story building, which would consist of about 100,000 square feet, ready for occupancy in the fall of 2018.
The 200 students living in the building would be part of a special curriculum involving civic engagement, and the building design will reflect that college-community interaction.
The corner of the building at Main and Appleton streets will include a large, glassed-in community forum that may be used as a meeting space by Colby, the public, city, businesses, nonprofit organizations and other community groups, according to Brian Clark, Colby’s vice president of planning.
“We thought that would be a natural way to reach out to the community and bring people into the building in interesting ways,” Clark said.
As part of the civic engagement program, the Colby students would work with community groups such as the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, Waterville Public Library, social service organizations and art organizations.
Glassed-in spaces on the floors above the forum space will be common areas for students and will be visible to people on the streets below. The ground floor would be set back about 16 feet from the sidewalk on Main Street.
Clark said the contemporary building, designed by the architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore, will complement the historic architecture that now exists on Main Street.
The building’s exterior may include stone such as granite on the ground level, as well as brick, glass and metal panels on upper floors.
The retail space on the ground floor would be located south of the forum space on Main Street; the number and type of retail spaces have not yet been determined.
The final step in the process for the residential complex approval is scheduled for the next day, March 7, when the City Council will take a second and final vote on whether to approve a tax increment financing district and development plan for the project.
Meanwhile, the council on Tuesday is expected to take a final vote on whether to sell the northeast corner of The Concourse to Colby for $300,000 for the residential complex, having taken a first vote on the sale earlier this month.
A first vote on the TIF and related development plan is expected Tuesday.
The Planning Board on March 6 will review multiple aspects of the proposed building at 150 Main St., including the size and number of floors, whether there are adequate parking and building setbacks, whether Colby has the financial means to complete the project, and other requirements, according to Planning Board Chairman Paul Lussier.
Colby officials on Feb. 6 presented an informal pre-application for the project to the board.
Paul Ureneck, director of commercial real estate for both Colby and Elm City LLC, an affiliate of Colby that is proposing the project, said the building would have four- and six-bedroom apartments for students, to include full kitchens and common living areas. There also would be two-bedroom apartments for faculty members and one-bedroom units for resident assistants.
The construction manager for the project is Landry/French Construction Co., of Scarborough.
Colby’s investment in the residential complex, renovation of the Hains building across the street at 173 Main St., and construction of a boutique hotel at 9 Main St. represents $40 million to $45 million dollars, according to Clark.
Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at: