A Massachusetts developer wants to build a five-building, 260-unit apartment community off Middle Road, behind the John Deere dealership.
Two people from the John Flatley Company, Doug Richardson, vice president of planning and acquisitions, and Kevin Walker, vice president of engineering and construction, talked over the proposal last Thursday with the town’s Planning Commission.
Richardson said that the process for applying for an Act 250 permit will begin soon.
“So we’re looking at five buildings, there’s 260 units. There would be approximately 400 parking spaces, and what we’d like to do is cluster the parking individually to each building, so there’s not a great distance to walk,” he said. “Also, we have a separate circulation road individual from the parking areas; that cuts down on the traffic speeding through the parking zones. In the center of this you can see is the club house, pool and tennis court.”
The site they intend to purchase for the project is 182 acres, however, only 14 acres will be developed with the rest being used, potentially, for walking trails.
The project is aimed at young professionals and “empty nesters,” said Richardson, adding that rent will be comparable to what else is available in the area, and the units themselves will be an even mix of one- and two-bedrooms.
“So the John Flatley Company is a family owned business since 1957,” said Richardson. “John Flatley is sole proprietor to the company, very similar to what his father did for years in terms of real estate development. John has been in operation himself since 1985. The company owns, operates, and manages properties, research and development, retail centers, as well as apartment communities throughout New England.”
In response to questions from various commissioners, he said the company has no intention of selling the project to a third party, and the company plans to hire its own people to manage the property. He expects it would employ about 10 people, from a property manager to community event planners and maintenance workers.
During construction, it will create about 150 jobs, according to Richardson, who added that the John Flatley Company hires local contractors not only for construction, but for future maintenance needs.
The company plans to build an access road off Middle Road. Richardson said the company plans to maintain its own infrastructure, but agreed to improve Middle Road, if necessary, up to the entrance driveway. He said the company expects to meet with local police and fire services to make sure there won’t be any problems accessing the site during an emergency.
He showed the commission photos of some of the company’s other projects, many of which feature amenities, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, club houses and community gardens. Most properties have the latter two features, he said. They also expect to have electric vehicle charging stations, as many of their other tenants have such EVs. They said they expect the outdoor lighting to be LED and built so as not to create light pollution.
Commissioner Norman Cohen asked whether the company had researched what level of demand there would be for this type of housing in the area.
“It’s the first project of its type in many years, the others have been condos; I don’t think we have a rental project around that’s this big, not only in Rutland Town, but anywhere,” he said.
Richardson said the company’s other rental projects are in areas with demographics similar to Rutland Town’s.
Select Board Chair Mary Ashcroft, whose land abuts the property, said her board would like to hear this presentation, as well.
She said both the Select Board and Planning Commission would have a say in the Act 250 process.