NANTUCKET CURRENT: PLANNING BOARD GETS FIRST LOOK AT “NEW DOWNTOWN” DEVELOPMENT

Preliminary plans for the massive redevelopment of the Downyflake property on Sparks Avenue got a lukewarm reception before the Planning Board on Monday during the first official review of the mid-island project.

Planning Board members raised concerns about groundwater, the proposed underground parking garage that would be part of the development, the driveway to the property, and the general appearance and massing of the three-story building that has been circulated by the developers.

“The design is decidedly un-Nantucket like,” said Planning Board chair Judith Wegner. “I don’t know if the designers are familiar with Nantucket in Mind. It looks to me like it could be anywhere on the Cape or any number of places. It doesn’t have the sense of place that is expected here and I’m sure you’re going ot hear that from a lot of people…There’s no senstitiveity to the design.”

The conceptual sketch plans submitted to the Planning Board reveal a three-story, mixed-use building with an underground parking garage. The investors are considering a wide range of elements for the development that could incorporate restaurants, including a relocated Downy Flake, retail space, business and medical offices, a personal fitness gym, apartments, some of which they intend to be “affordable,” as well as a bowling alley. The underground parking garage would include 70 parking spaces, in addition to 74 surface level spaces, according to the plans filed by Daniel Mulloy, of Site Design Engineering, on behalf of the investment group.

Leading the development effort are Christopher Fiumara and Daniel Najarian, the co-founders of the Boston-based Crowd Lending Inc., a commercial real estate lender. Property records show their partners in the project include Jared Gerstenblatt and Christopher Grimaldi, managing partners of the New York brokerage firm Chimera Securities. Together they spent $10.75 million to purchase the Downyflake property and three surrounding parcels on the west side of Sparks Avenue.

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