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Newest Dover Waterfront plans get OK; groundbreaking scheduled for 2012

DOVER, NH (May 18, 2012) — Dickinson Development Corp.’s plans for the City’s waterfront development may be coming to fruition a year from now as the City’s Cocheco Waterfront Development Advisory Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the company’s newest plans for the project.

Mark Dickinson and his company’s attorney, Christopher Wyskiel, met with the group for the first time since April 2010 to discuss the status and progress of the corporations plans to develop the waterfront property.

“Our goal is to be under construction a year from now,” said Dickinson.

With plans in hand, Dickinson and Wyskiel shared some proposed changes with the advisory group, all of which the developer said adhere to the City’s Land Disposition Agreement. Dickinson informed the group he has been in the area at least twice a month, sometimes once a week, for the past three to four months in an effort to get the ball rolling for the project.

The newest plans the two showed the group were not altered dramatically, according to Wysliel, noting the use of the properties has not changed and that some things have been shuffled around rather than changed dramatically.

The revised plans sill call for a public park, apartments, residential and commercial buildings, as well as many mixed use facilities and ample parking. The buildings range in size and shape and are set to gradually increase in height as you go away from the river toward Washington Street to give a cascading effect.

“We kept most of the design elements very much intact,” said Dickinson, “Part of the outcome of this plan came directly from the suggestions of the City’s Planning Department.”

Though Dickinson had provided the group with some computer generated depictions of what the buildings could look like, members said they were concerned with how the buildings would look.

Committee Member David Bamford said he liked the idea of underground parking, which is proposed for some of the buildings, but that he didn’t want it to look like underground parking.

“I think you can make it look acceptable, but there is no way you’re going to be able to hide is completely,” responded Dickinson.

To give the group a more clear picture of what the proposed structures would look like, Dickinson compared one of the plans largest buildings to that of the mill buildings in the city’s central square. He said it would be a 127,000sf multi-level structure.

“It’s going to look attractive and interesting,” said Dickinson, “We’ve done a pretty good job respecting the urban location.”

Wyskiel stressed that there are not a lot of other “high scale” apartment complexes like the one Dickinson has proposed for Dover Landing, which would bring a whole new group of individuals who would ultimately be using the downtown area.

Committee Member Thorn HIndle said he was concerned with the proposed plans flow of traffic, as the majority of the units are only accessible by passing through one primary area of the development.

“The solution to that problem would be to open up the other end, but I don’t think we want to do that because of the streetscape,” responded Dickinson.

Though he admitted that plans could once again be tweaked to fit engineering guidelines and restrictions, Dickinson said he needed the committee’s approval before he and Wyskiel could go forward with fully permitting and engineering the plan.

After Committee Chair Jack Mettee announced that it was “music to (his) ears to hear we might have a ground breaking in 2012,” the group voted unanimously to accept Dickinson’s revised concept plan.

No additional meeting dates with Dickinson were set at Tuesday nights meeting but it was noted the plans will now go before other city officials for approval.

Founded in 1980, Dickinson Development is a full-service commercial real estate development and project management consulting firm based in Quincy, Mass.

— Foster’s Daily Democrat

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