Thursday, October 4, 2007

An Update on The Blake Block

Artist depiction of the 'New Blake Block' from the Intersection of South and Great Roads.

If you thought the discussions on the development of the Blake Block have been going on years and years you're right. Bruce Blake and his wife along with another couple bought the ‘Sheldon Block’ property back in 1992. Later on they bought out the other couple. In the last year or so most of the existing tenants have vacated the existing building. Ken’s Deli and Ginger Restaurants are the only 2 tenants remaining.
A view of the existing building. Only two tenants remain.

Over the past few years the plans for the “Blake Block” have evolved. The current plan is for a two story L shaped building. This building will roughly cover the same area on Great Road (although about 10 feet further back from the road). The building will extend a little further down Fletcher Road. The first floor will contain 10,000 square feet of retail space. Bruce expects a total of 6 or 7 different store fronts. The two existing restaurants are expected to remain. The second floor will also be 10,000 square feet and will be Condo’s with maybe some office space. The Country Store building will remain. There were previous plans to build some duplexes on Spring Road but this was scraped in exchange for increasing the space on the second floor from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet. Street parking will be available with additional parking behind the building. With the increased set back, the existing sidewalk on Great Road will be 20 feet wide. In addition an easement was granted so the town could add a sidewalk on Springs Road.

As far as specific retailers, we will have to wait and see. Bruce mentioned there seemed to be a lot of interest in a Bakery.
The existing building looks rather worn out.
As far as Bruce is concerned, this project is very beneficial to the town. The design of the new building is a large improvement over the existing building, which has begun looking a bit ramshackle. He sees the key to the project as part of the SMART growth program, which includes mixed use zoning to include retail and housing and perhaps some office space.
Artist depiction of the 'New Blake Block' from the Intersection of Fletcher and Great Roads.


Back in 2003, a state funded grant was awarded in association with the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) to make recommendations about the future of the Blake Block. An 11 person Blake Block Smart Growth Committee was formed to come up with recommendations on how to proceed. The committee then hired a professional design and architectural firm to put together a development plan, which was completed in 2004. Over the past few years the plan has made a few changes as a result of additional feedback from town department and current residents.

Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Once Construction starts, Bruce expects it will take about 9 month to complete the project. What do you think about this project? What retailers would you like to see? Click on the comments link below and let us know.

4 comments:

Benjamin said...

I have no useful opinion on the Blake Block yet.

But I greatly appreciate your blog! The posts are always well written and informative. Thank you!

-ben

jmp said...

I like the direction this is currently headed. I hope the plans keep getting approval and the project gets built sooner than later.

I think the Blakes have been really patient with all the people that have been telling them what to do all these years. granted some of those things have been law, but still...

saca said...

It is so nice to see that the Blake's are remaining patient with the town "process". This proposal looks wonderful. This will be an honorable addition to our town center. Any chance there is space to lease for a teen/young adult diner?

SACA

Anonymous said...

HOPE THE NEW BUILDING WILL LOOK LIKE BEDFORD DID LONG AGO. WAS MY TOWN FOR A LONG TIME. MY OLD HOME IS STILL THERE. TRY TO MAKE IT QUAINT. THANK YOU.
LONG LOST RELATIVE.