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Updates proposed for former post office addition

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham Planning Board members reviewed updates to a proposed five-story addition to the Birmingham Post Office, 320 Martin Street, during a pre-application discussion during their meeting on Wednesday, July 12.

The new addition to the former post office will be built on the back of the historic post office which was erected in 1929. First floor retail is proposed along the Maple Road frontage, along with two floors of office space and two floors of residential units. The addition itself would replace an on-street surface parking lot on Maple and Bates Street.

In the original plans, designs included renovations to the parking lot, loading bay area and dumpster area. The parking area was proposed to include a car lift, but updated plans now include two car lifts for increased efficiency. According to planning director Nick Dupuis, the new lift means a loss of seven parking spaces.

Kevin Biddison of Biddison Architecture and Design explained that the second car lift creates a much more expedient parking system moving twice as fast as the original design. Original plans showing one lift included 46 parking spaces, which will now be brought down to 39 spaces with the second lift.

The development is only required to have nine parking spaces for residential units, and will still meet the parking requirement for other uses with the second car lift addition. Biddison also talked the board through additional changes to the design, including the designation of a residential only entry, a two-story lobby space and a smaller retail space on the first floor.

While the addition will still have a retail component, the addition of a second car lift makes the space 1,000 square feet shorter than originally planned. It will still have a 20 foot depth.

“I like two [car lifts] better than one in terms of expediency of getting in and out. I always thought that was a problem or if one is broken. The concern here is you lose 1,000 square feet of retail but I’m not troubled by that because I think that’s the smallest component of this –mostly residential and it’s mostly office. We understood that from the very beginning,” said board member Bryan Williams.

Since the review was a pre-application discussion, no formal action was taken by the board.


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