Sun, Jan

Old Town gets condo face lift


Drive down Main Street and you’ll notice only one empty space in Old Town’s facade: On the west side of the street, at 920 N. Main Street, sits an empty lot.

The developers of LeMain have plans for that space. Within a year or two, a three-story building will occupy 920, its first floor dedicated to commercial space and its top two floors given condominium-style residences.

Across the alley at its back, in another vacant lot at 925 N. Cactus Street, another three-story building will be constructed, with a first floor parking garage and two upper stories of residences.

It may be hard to imagine condominium-style living in Old Town, but it’s no joke. The Verde Valley’s largest community is getting closer to what city of Cottonwood Community Development Director Berrin Nejad called “a face lift for Old Town.”

Officially presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission by planner Scott Ellis in September, LeMain’s intent is to, in Ellis’ words, “provide an in-fill development ... sold as condominium style housing,” in a modern style that “will still fit with the surrounding historic buildings lining both streets.”

According to Ellis, the project received positive feedback from the Historic Preservation Commission in March 2016.

The building on Main Street will include approximately 2,200 square feet of commercial space on the lower floor and three residential units on the two upper floors, ranging from 1,100 square feet to 1,800 square feet.

In addition to its parking garage, the Cactus Street building will comprise six residential units, ranging from 950 to 1,400 square feet. Both buildings will be a maximum 35 feet in height.

“Salvaged construction materials of a historic nature will be used for interior design accents in both buildings,” Ellis said.

The project’s original architect, Steve Biasini of Cactus Development and Southwestern Environmental Consultants, has worked on various high-profile area projects, including the Cottonwood Walmart, the Verde Valley Guidance Center, the Cottonwood Ranch residential development and The Crossroads at Mingus subdivision.

“My role is strictly advisory now that we’ve gotten through the planning and zoning matters,” Biasini said, adding that longtime local architect Bob Woods has been chosen as LeMain’s primary architect. “The only thing that’s outstanding now, beyond creating [Wood’s] construction documents, is the final reading of zoning ordnance and approval by the City Council.”

Woods, a residential and commercial architect whose recent work includes the Sears shopping center in Cottonwood and G’s Burgers in Cornville, praised the design of the buildings and what their presence would add to Old Town.

“I normally wouldn’t take a project like this that another architect had such a heavy hand in, but it just looked like so much fun,” Woods said.

Nejad welcomed the closing of the final lot gap within Main Street’s increasingly developed facade and likewise praised the project’s design, which she said would be “modern but consistent with the area.”

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