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Developer gets four parking spots to finish downtown building with no parking

  • 26 Spring Street in Amherst. Construction on the mixed-used building with 58 apartments was halted last year for the pandemic. The project, to be known as 26 Spring Street, is just west of the intersection with Churchill Street. Photographed on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Thursday, November 11, 2021

AMHERST — Four parking spaces in Amherst center will be set aside for use by work crews through the end of 2022 as construction resumes on a mixed-use development halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Town Council voted 10-3 Monday to allow Archipelago Investments LLC to use the spots, as well as keep the adjacent sidewalk closed, so the building known as 26 Spring Street can be built. The council then voted 13-0 to require Archipelago to pay $13,880 for reserving those spaces, calculated at a $10 per day fee for each space.

“We’re very fortunate to restart that at this time,” said Archipelago principal Kyle Wilson.

The project will include 58 apartments in a five-story building situated on a previously vacant lot east of Grace Episcopal Church, north of the Inn on Boltwood and southwest of the Amherst Police Station. There is also expected to be 1,000 square feet of commercial space in the building, but no on-site parking at the fourth mixed-use project in downtown being handled by Archipelago.

Western Builders of Granby is the general contractor for project, and will initially be demolishing wood framing that has been compromised by the weather since construction stopped in March 2020. The structural steel and the foundation, though, will remain in place. Framing will take about 3½ months to complete.

Those councilors who voted against giving Archipelago authorization for use of the town ways have concerns about the project.

District 3 Councilor Dorothy Pam said she is dismayed that the building is so close to the sidewalk. Pam said the Planning Board approved the project despite objections from the Design Review Board.

District 1 Councilor Cathy Schoen expressed concern that the sidewalk will continue to be closed to pedestrians. That previous closure began Oct. 15, 2019.

District 1 Councilor Sarah Swartz joined Pam and Schoen in that vote.

At Large Councilor Mandi Jo Hanneke noted that the original authorization for use of the parking spaces expired in January, and wondered if the public had access to those spots since that time.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said he had periodically parked his vehicle there this year to show that the spaces were again available to the public. Wilson said that the fence surrounding the project was also pulled back to provide better access to those spaces for most of 2021.