ST. ALBANS CITY — Developers for a proposed Hampton Inn on Lake Street took their case to the St. Albans City Development Review Board (DRB) on Monday night. They are seeking site plan approval for the five-story building.
In response to criticisms from the Design Advisory Board (DAB), which is charged with reviewing the aesthetics of buildings planned for the downtown historic district, architect Steve Roy of Weimann Lamphere Architects increased the amount of brick on the façade and reduced the size of a vertical sign at the side of the building by four feet to 14 feet.
Metal siding, which covers two floors on the front of the building and nearly all of the rear, was changed. The previously corrugated metal siding was replaced with two styles, one of which is reminiscent of a copper-clad wall, according to Roy.
The building also incorporates cast stone around the entryway and for decoration in the brick sections of the building.
Katie Collin, chair of the DAB, reminded the board that metal is not a recommended material in the downtown historic district.
Roy explained that metal requires less maintenance than the alternatives, and that the siding selected had a similar look to fiber cement. The state office building on Federal Street also contains flat metal siding, he noted.
The front and east side of the building will be flush with the sidewalk. The west side will be just two feet from 45 Lake St., where owner Keith Taruski is also planning upgrades to a building.
Parking will be in the municipal garage, where the hotel will lease 105 spaces for employees and guests.
Sidewalks at the rear of the building will connect a rear, card operated entrance, to the parking garage. One section of the sidewalk will be a curving ramp for handicapped entrance; it will loop around a collection of plantings.
Other areas at the rear also will be landscaped to screen them from view. The challenge was finding species that can survive in low light, since they will be located between two multi-story buildings, explained Peter Garceau of Cross Consulting Engineers.
Four yard drains are planned on the site. They will not retain stormwater for treatment. The water will go into the city’s existing storm drains.
DRB member Rebecca Pfeiffer asked whether the plantings would provide any stormwater treatment. “The plantings will help with some of that water,” said Garceau, adding it will mostly drain into the city’s system.
At approximately one-third of an acre, the project is too small to require stormwater treatment, which is necessary for projects of an acre or more.
If approved, construction will commence in April 2016 and finish a year later.
Asked how the company would manage construction in such a tight space, Jeff Davis of PeakCM, the developer, said, “It’s all about organization and planning ahead.”
Construction is being coordinated with the city, which will be doing streetscape improvements to Lake Street at the same time.
“It’s the streetscape that is going to be disrupting the parking more than the hotel,” said Chip Sawyer, the city’s director of planning and development.
The streetscape includes a drop-off area in front of the hotel.
Two to three parking spots will be lost on Lake Street when the project is complete, said Garceau.
The DRB will have 45 days to issue a decision.