Bedford luxury apartment plan ekes out majority support in resident survey
51% say they back their construction at Market and Main development
A survey conducted by the developer of the Market and Main multi-use development in Bedford has found that a slight majority of residents support the controversial construction of 200 luxury apartments at the site.
The specific luxury apartments proposal, which has drawn vocal opposition, is backed by 51% of residents, Encore Commercial, developer of the project, said. The company said it surveyed 287 registered Bedford voters. The poll was conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center.
But there was more widespread support for the project – 60% – when respondents were asked if they supported the project in general. And support grew even more when respondents were asked more generously descriptive questions about the project.
- 51% said they were more likely to support Market and Main’s “luxury studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, stylishly appointed with private patios, available covered parking and the latest in energy efficiency and home technology.”
- 68% said they were more likely to support Market and Main when they know it is a “mixed-use development at Bedford’s gateway, with quality shopping, dining and entertainment along with a hotel and luxury residences, which would offer tremendous economic benefits with low impacts on town services.”
- 74% said they were more likely to support Market and Main when they know it would “increase Bedford’s tax base by an estimated 6.6%.”
- 76% said they were more likely to support Market and Main based on its “creation of over 1,600 full-time jobs in Bedford at a time when new jobs are needed most.”
- 78% said they were more likely to support Market and Main because of its recently announced “state-of-the-art 11-screen Regal movie theater with reclining seats and arcade, brining movies and entertainment to Bedford for the first time in 13 years.”
- 79% said they were more likely to support Market and Main given that it will “generate up to $740,000 in new annual property tax revenue for Bedford, as well as a one-time impact fee of nearly $700,000.”
- 85% said they were more likely to support Market and Main’s because of its design, featuring “tree-lined streetscapes with deep sidewalks to access boutiques and family-friendly shopping, dining and entertainment venues.”
Encore is expected to go before the town planning board on June 22 with the second phase of its plan, which includes retail space on the lower level of the two five-story apartment buildings as well as an 11-screen Regal cinema and indoor and outdoor dining.
The project has drawn controversy because the apartment buildings – which were not included in the original site plan approved by the planning board – would be located in a section of town where they are not permitted, and some members of the planning board have already expressed concerns about the plan.
The first phase of the project, which has been completed, includes a Trader Joe’s store and Friendly Toast restaurant.