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WORCESTER – The planning board on Wednesday approved a final site plan for the redevelopment of the Table Talk Pie complex in Kelley Square into a mix of housing and retail.

The board of directors voted unanimously to approve the first phase of Boston Capital’s plans to redevelop the four-acre parcel, which includes the construction of a seven-story apartment complex in which the 83 units will be affordable.

The plan Boston Capital presented on Wednesday actually reflected an increase in the number of units from the 77 it predicted when it first applied to the Town Planning Council for approval of a final site plan.

Attorney Todd Rodman told the Planning Board that Boston Capital added the additional units after discussing its plans with the state.

The Table Talk Pies building in Kelley Square in Worcester.

Boston Capital will seek state social housing tax credits on the project and is in talks with the city to receive federal HOME funds.

Rich Mazzocchi of Boston Capital

Rich Mazzocchi of Boston Capital said the site’s comprehensive master plan includes approximately 400 housing units and 40,000 square feet of retail space.

Mazzocchi said the apartment tower planned for the first phase of the project will consist of a mix of studios and one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. The units will be priced at 60% of the region’s median income, which he says is the US standard for housing and urban development for affordable housing. He said that for a family of four in Worcester, that works out to a total income of around $ 98,000.

The development includes the creation of Spruce Street, which in Boston Capital’s plans is one-way from Washington Street to Green Street. Mazzocchi said the development extends the character of the canal district and complements other ongoing developments in the district as well as existing businesses.

David Sullivan of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce said the chamber fully supports Boston Capital’s plans. He said greater density in the neighborhood would lead to continued economic development, and he supported the promotion of more affordable housing.

‘Charm of a HLM tower’

Allen Fletcher, who lives in the old Ash Street school and who developed the Worcester Public Market across the street, said the first phase of development “has all the charm of a high-rise public housing “and that the Spruce Street proposal represented a wasted opportunity. to inject some human scale development at street level into the project.

Fletcher said he and others in the Canal District had been advised by Boston Capital that there would be a mixed-use development and that downstairs retail would be coming, and none of those- this is only offered in the first phase of development.

And Dino Lorusso, owner of Crompton Place on Green Street, said the development, with fewer parking spaces than residents, would only add to parking problems in the Canal District.

Lorusso said the city’s installation of a parking meter across the neighborhood has increased the cost of parking for company employees and neighborhood residents. He said people are currently paying $ 175 to $ 200 a month for private spots; he estimated that once the Boston Capital project is completed, that bonus will increase to $ 300 to $ 500 per month.

Industrial style of the neighborhood

Mazzocchi has said he respectfully disagrees with Fletcher and Lorusso. He said he believed the design, which includes elements of brickwork, metal panels and cement board, respects the industrial style of the neighborhood.

Mazzocchi said the 40,000 square feet of retail space planned for the full construction of the project is a significant amount. He said that in the COVID-19 era, he was not sure the neighborhood would be able to absorb 40,000 square feet of retail at a time.

And, added Mazzocchi, there is little room to create a parking lot. But he believed there was enough to support this project. He noted that there is indoor bicycle parking and said the project is proposed in a pedestrian zone, close to large employers and Union Station.

Planning Board members also expressed some concerns about the aesthetics of the proposed seven-story building and wanted to see a more elaborate plan to activate the new stretch of Spruce Street, but were pleased to see a proposed affordable housing development. in the project context.

Mazzocchi said Boston Capital plans to acquire the Table Talk site early next year, when the pie-making company moves to a new headquarters. currently under construction near South Worcester Industrial Park.