Oct. 14—The Auburn Planning Board approved 128 housing units by A.R. Building Company, next to BJ's Wholesale Club on Mount Auburn Avenue.
The units will be a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments in two four-story buildings connected by a clubhouse. Amenities will include a gym, pool and in-unit laundry.
That project also received a unanimous Planning Board vote.
Cousens said construction should start this winter or spring with a 24- to 36-month build.
"They're going to contribute to a sidewalk connection to tie into the existing city sidewalks as well as some expanded sidewalks that the city is planning for next summer," he said. "We've been making a big push to improve connectivity for pedestrians in the mall area."
The Boulos Co. is marketing four outparcel sites around the Auburn Mall, one in front of JCPenney, facing Center Street, and three on the Panera Bread side of the mall.
They're described as ranging from 3,000 to 15,000 square feet with drive-thru availability.
Space is also being marketed in the Hobby Lobby Plaza kitty-corner from the new housing development.
Move hundreds of residents in and more retail will come?
Hopefully, partner/broker Craig Young said.
"I would expect more increased interest in retail and retail outparcels as more housing is developed," Young said. "There has not been a lot of interest in the retail lots since COVID started, but I trust that will change as we continue to see bettering health and economic conditions post-COVID."
A new 2.5-megawatt, $5.2 million solar project is headed to 20 acres at 100 Penley Corner Road.
The project is by Nexamp Solar, which is currently wrapping up a 5-megawatt project in Auburn on Riverside Drive.
"This will be on the same property owner's property, but a different parcel," Cousens said. "Roger Gauthier is a lifelong farmer in South Auburn and he's not able to work the land as hard as he's used to and he's looking to diversify his income so he can continue to operate the farm."
Cousens said some members of the public voiced concerns to the Planning Board about whether solar development is appropriate in Auburn's agricultural zone.
"Their concerns were about the ordinance, more so, than the project itself," he said. "(The board) can't change the ordinance, they're just applying the one that exists."
The board approved the project Tuesday on a 6-1 vote.
On Riverside, Nexamp's "erosion control has been impeccable," Cousens said. "They've done a great job with the siting of the panels. They've given tours and they've offered additional tours to elected officials if they would like them. They've done an outstanding job so far."