| 2 min read | By Seth Kinker,

 The Chelsea Downtown Development Authority (DDA) met for their monthly meeting on Sept. 19 and was updated on multiple topics including potential developments for the Federal Screw Works property and Rockwell Building, Palmer Commons amenities, and Main Street/M-52 construction.

First, City Manager John Hanifan invited the DDA to a scheduled work session on Sept. 23, before the city council meeting at 6 p.m. This work session will address two potential developments of long-standing Chelsea projects, the Federal Screw Works and Rockwell Building, and get council up to speed on the information given to city staff.

Although the developers for the sites are different, both are mixed-use. More details will be forthcoming at the work session but Hanifan added that the Federal Screws residential component would be around 100 units.


“True North Developers has interfaced with Federal Screw,” said Hanifan. “They do have a way to alleviate the residential deed restriction. We’re hopeful, not cheering or rooting for any one developer or not, if they chose not too, at least there’s a pathway for someone else to possibly do the same thing. In the end, it comes down to dollars, it’s how these developments work. They have a number as far as making that deed restriction go away, that’s about all we know at this point for Federal Screw.”

DDA member Bill O’Reilly asked if the existing structures would remain and Hanifan responded that he doesn’t believe they would as far as site density to make the project pro forma work.

“We haven’t seen a site plan or concept yet,” added Hanifan “they’re holding off on doing that, they’re in n their due diligence phase.

Hanifan also told the DDA about “asks” from the development team for the Rockwell Building. Hanifan had emailed he DDA information that they had been given about the renovations proposed as well as 36 apartments.

The DDA’s role would be allowing for incentives, specifically the Brownfield Tax Implement Financing.

“You have to evaluate what the building is now and what it will be when it’s fully developed,” explained Hanifan. “There are eligible activities, vapor mitigation, asbestos, lead paint abatement, things like that. Those funds could be used for that, they don’t have to be but could be. That’s one of the asks. A number of other things the developer is asking for, certain tax abatements, and parking concessions.”

At the work session on Monday, Hanifan said what’s possible, what isn’t and what’s been done in the past will be key points to those requests. Although the Rockwell Building is further along in getting their ducks in a row, according to Hanifan, the biggest ask pertained to parking.

“As far as things that are totally different from what we’ve done in the past is a request for parking along North Street,” said Hanifan. “Which would be 24-hour parking on the street. We have parking restrictions from 2 am to 5 pm. That’s one of the points we’ll have to talk through and revisit likely in October, both city council and the DDA.

More of the Palmer Commons amenities have been addressed since the last DDA meeting, the fence is painted and Hanifan told the DDA the second round of trees will be planted in the next couple of weeks.

While no more trees are planned to be added this season, the DDA could revisit the discussion at a later time to use currently covered grates or cover them permanently.

Finally, the DDA discussed Main Street construction.

With only a handful of ramps and sidewalks left, the paving phase will commence.

“Even though the paving phase is a full disruption for a day or so, it’s only a day,” said Hanifan. “They’ll do one lane, tear it up with a grinder, come next with the asphalts, and they’ll do the same with the other lane. They’ll do that over two weekends, but we don’t know what weekends. The on the ground staff have been good at communicating what their daily plans will be, beyond that, it’s a challenge with the overall schedule.