Kent Development Proposal Now Includes ‘Box’ Retail Space

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Developers who are seeking to build a hotel and conference center in Kent have amended their proposal to include about 60,000 square feet of retail space, including a “box” store, in lieu of a truck stop/gas station that was part of the original plan but nixed due to heavy criticism from residents.

During the Feb. 13 Kent Planning Board meeting, architect and engineer Peter Scott presented the new proposal.

“The plan has been amended now to include box retail of about 30,000 square feet, with (additional) 30,000 square feet of mixed-retail, with one restaurant, basically following the frontage along Route 52,” he said.

The building would be about 500 feet long and about 100 feet deep along the stretch of mixed-use retail space, with the “box” space about 180 feet by 170 feet, according to Scott. The façade would be similar to the Trader Joe’s building in Danbury, he said.

The retail building would be at the forefront of the property, with a 100-foot buffer in front, with a water treatment basin and appropriate landscaping – all of which is unchanged from the original proposal, said Scott.

“What this is planned on is a transition between the Route 52 frontage and the remaining portion of the site,” he said.

Because of height limits and the front store segments of the retail building, “we’re able to bring the scale down to more of a common, colonial – simplified colonial – façade extending along the corridor itself,” said Scott.

In the rear of the property is where a Radisson hotel and convention center will be built, which will have a more modern look “because of their scale,” according to the architect.

He said one way in which developers plan to “mask the development of the project” is having the front retail building raised about 15feet higher than the rest of the property, and having the road drop down a 1 percent slope to the buildings in the rear, moving more toward the Interstate 84 corridor.

“The viewshed of this entire project is to the north, toward the highway,” he said. “And to the south we’re over the crest of the hill, so none of this is visible from the south… We want to nestle this project into a hill facing 84… to show the hotel for destinations for 84.”

Ponds, plantings and “extensive treescapes” will also be included along the boulevard and throughout the site. “Whenever you do a project like this, we like to break up the massing of the parking spots,” said Scott.

Of the entire 136-acre property, he said about 54 acres will be disturbed.

“We really have no plans for the rest of the property,” said Scott, noting that the developers are considering the potential for “passive recreation,” and plan on leaving much of the remainder of the property wooded.

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