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Condos and offices planned for Culver Road Armory 

Fred Rainaldi, Jr. presented residents and community leaders with plans for a second phase of development at the Culver Road Armory site at a neighborhood meeting last night. The plans, which call for building a 40,000-square-foot commercial building and a five-story, 10-unit residential complex, would fully develop the 10.4-acre site.

click to enlarge The Culver Road Armory's developer proposes commercial and residential additions to the project. - PROVIDED PHOTO
  • PROVIDED PHOTO
  • The Culver Road Armory's developer proposes commercial and residential additions to the project.

For the commercial building, Rainaldi plans to create a mix of professional office and retail space by adding a 30,000-square-foot, two-story addition an existing 10,000-square-foot structure southwest of the main building. That building building was originally used as a barn.

The design uses a mix of cedar and glass for the exterior to complement the brick, cedar, and glass exterior of the main armory building.

In the condominium building, each unit would be about 2,300 square feet, with four spaces of parking: two underground and two spaces above-ground. City officials said the units will be priced at about $375,000 to $425,000, though Rainaldi declined to confirm pricing at the meeting.

The building's design is a modular mix of natural stone and glass. Rainaldi said his father, a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, wanted the building to blend in with its natural surroundings. Half of the units would face north and half south, and each unit would have balconies.

The entrance to the condominium building would be on Belmont Street, separate from the rest of the site.

Most of the residents who attended the meeting last night seemed impressed with Rainaldi's presentation, but some did have concerns. For example, one resident was concerned with the height of the condominiums.

Rainaldi said the condominiums would be 72 feet tall. The tallest part of the main armory building, in comparison, is about 50 feet. The new office and retail space would reach 32 feet in height.

And another resident asked whether the noise from I-490 would hinder the condo sales. But Rainaldi said he was confident in the site and the noise from the expressway would not be an issue.

"I'm very passionate about the location being right at the artery of the 490," he said. "I'm not afraid of it."

The site will require rezoning to a Planned Development District to permit a combination of mixed-commercial use and the residential complex, he said. He said he wants to have the project completed by early next year.

Fred Rainaldi Sr. purchased the World War I-era armory at 145 Culver Road across from Cobbs Hill Park in 2009 for about $1.5 million. The 100,000 square foot structure underwent a massive multi-million dollar renovation that combined modern design elements with the armory's historic character.

The main building, which was redesigned for a mix of professional office space and specialty retailers, houses Alex and Ani, a fine jeweler, and the restaurant Trata. Rainaldi said more of the armory's space will be occupied by the summer, including the addition of a café.

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