Council OKs tax relief for Hoffman block, which incidentally, won't be called that

Harrison Thorp 1 p.m.

Council OKs tax relief for Hoffman block, which incidentally, won't be called that

A rendering of the new building that will be located at 45 and 55 North Main Street in the downtown. (Courtesy rendering/G/P Properties)

ROCHESTER - A Massachusetts development firm had its application for the city's Community Revitalization Tax Relief program approved on Tuesday, paving the way for two empty downtown buildings to be bulldozed and replaced with a first-floor commercial space and 45 one- and two-bedroom apartments above.

Greg Grant of GP Properties of Charlestown, said he envisioned one commercial space - probably a restaurant - at the former space comprising 45 and 55 North Main Street, where Hoffman's Furniture and Slim's restaurant used to be located.

Grant said the five-story building would boast 36 large two-bedroom, two-bath apartments and nine smaller one-bedroom, one-bathroom units.

He also said the building would include 15 parking spaces in the rear and that the average rent including both one- and two-bedroom units would be around $1,800 a month.

The entire cost of the construction project would be around $11.7 million.

The lone vote against granting the tax relief program, which will last for seven years, was newly elected City Councilor Steve Beaudoin, who said he couldn't give it a nod since it would only exacerbate the city's current lack of parking, something incoming City Councilor Tim Fontneau said was a good thing since it indicated the downtown is on the upswing.

City Councilor and Deputy Mayor David Walker agreed, adding that recent parking studies indicated there was sufficient parking in nearby public lots to mitigate any parking issues caused by the added downtown apartments.

The 79E tax relief program allows developers to avoid paying more than the current assessed value for a specified amount of years.

Grant also said after hearing a lot of negative feedback on tentatively calling it the Hoffman Building, they are contemplating a different name.