Final approval was given to the mixed use overlay district covering Forest Park by the City Council this week.
“We are very fortunate we have a very good working relationship with the city and that they understand our vision and support our vision," said Joseph Zink, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Management which owns and develops the property.
The vote opens the door to 350 apartment units, retail and hotel growth at the development that was formerly zoned only commercial and industrial.
“It allows us the flexibility to execute our full vision; to have that work, live and play environment on one campus," said Zink.
These will be part of a 110 acre multi-use campus on the former HP campus. The development will give the city $3 million in net tax revenue annually once it is fully built out, according to developers.
The build out will include 1.05 million square feet of total commercial space upon completion. But it is not this office space alone that has allowed the development to draw in big name businesses, such as Quest Diagnostics, said Zink, but the overall package.
“The biggest challenge you hear from top tier companies now is attracting top tier talent and keeping people happy," said Zink. "It was very important to quest, because they are moving from an environ that has live work play all around them."
You cannot replicate Cambridge, where Quest is moving from, but having all the amenities nearby if not directly on the campus makes it appealing to the companies, he said. It is something that is unique to the area, which has no retail space currently, and the 495 corridor, said Zink.
“You don’t see that concept really exist along 495," he said.
The council understood this, said Zink. At an Urban Affairs Committee meeting to discuss the project, numerous councilors voiced their support. At the Council Meeting Monday night, Councilor Matt Eldridge said that he did not support the project initially but is behind after understanding the concept.
The final step in the zoning change to the city ordinance is the signature of Mayor Arthur Vigeant.