Elliot at Rivers Edge
The Elliot at Rivers Edge, an ambulatory care facility, is the first phase of a large, mixed-use development on the site of the former Jac-Pac meat packing plant on Queen City Ave, just south of Downtown. The project includes medical facilities, office space, retail and residences in addition to a park along the river to form the southern anchor of the Riverwalk. Additional phases are planned north of the project for some time in the future.
In addition to enhancing the skyline south of and on the approach to Downtown, the Rivers Edge project has the potential to spur greater development and investment in the Bakersville neighborhood, as well as potentially across the river along Second Street. Equally importantly, the location of new residences and a major employer in Bakersville should better connect the area to Downtown and lead to redevelopment of Elm Street in Downtown South, including the long-discussed Gaslight and Warehouse Districts. Better transit, possibly including an extension of the Downtown Circulator, could help encourage appropriate, urban-scale development in the area between Rivers Edge and Downtown.
At least one private development has been built ahead of the Elliot opening. Baltic Townhomes at Rivers Edge, a four-unit housing development, was recently completed on adjacent Vernon Street. This environmentally conscious, infill project is one example of others that may follow in Bakersville and Downtown South to accommodate new residents, workers, shoppers and patients in the Rivers Edge area.
Kalivas/Union & Corey Square (Janeville)
Manchester Municipal Complex
The City is currently building a new municipal complex in Kalivas/Union to house the Police Department, Department of Public Works, Highways Department, and the Manchester Water Works.
The complex is being built on the current site of the Highway Department and Water Works, on two Valley Street blocks between Maple and Wilson Streets. The project will include two new buildings between Maple and Lincoln to house the Police and DPW, which will create a more urban-appropriate street wall along Valley Street near Gill Stadium. The existing commercial properties along Valley Street between Lincoln and Wilson will remain, which could be redeveloped into a more urban-scale mix of retail, office and housing in the future. Those sites could be redeveloped as a mix of retail/office space and housing in the future, in order to continue the street wall to the C.A. Hoitt building.
The municipal complex will bring new jobs to the neighborhood and improve a blighted site, but it also has the potential to transform Valley Street, which has the potential to be strengthened as a city center commercial district and transit corridor connecting Kalivas/Union, Hallsville, Somerville and Green Acres with Downtown. The former rail right-of-way along the southern side of Valley Street could be used as a pedestrian promenade, designated bike lane, or reserved bus/high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane. An HOV lane would allow multiple bus routes to use Valley Street as a feeder between Elm Street and routes extending into the southeast of the city. A similar approach is used on Forest Avenue in Portland, Me., and greatly increases the frequency of buses along the corridor. This would allow city center residents to easily reach grocery stores and other destinations along Valley Street, while promoting increased development and investment in the neighborhood. Zoning changes, transit improvements and streetscape beautification would build on the investment that the municipal complex will already encourage to strengthen and improve the Valley Street area of Kalivas/Union, Hallsville and Somerville.
Hallsville (The Hollow) & Somerville
The Hollow revitalization project
The City of Manchester has purchased a number of properties in The Hollow, an area zoned for Neighborhood Business and already the commercial center of Hallsville.
The neighborhood lost a beautiful nineteenth-century firehouse in the late 2002, but the restoration of the Odd Fellows Hall, alternatively known as Dearborn Hall, promises to restore the previously empty local landmark to a state worthy of its prominence in one of the city’s densest and oldest neighborhoods. The city hopes to attract a restaurant or retail tenant to the ground floor with housing above.
In addition to the Odd Fellows Hall, the city has purchased and is seeking proposals for redevelopment of 335-337 Lake Ave. Despite the loss of the firehouse and a handful of other structures, more existing commercial and historic structures remain intact in The Hollow than do in many of the city’s other, older neighborhood centers. Given this and the City’s current redevelopment projects, The Hollow seems poised for increased investment, perhaps including facade improvements, in the many historic buildings in and around The Hollow, including the former Empire Theatre. To complement and encourage this, better transit links, pedestrians amenities and streetscape beautification efforts should be implemented throughout the neighborhood.