Business, News

Hilltop developer wants extended work hours at the site

SAUGUS — AvalonBay Communities wants to work nights and weekends to build their $100 million apartment community at the former Hilltop Steak House.

The Virginia-based real estate investment trust is set to break ground by year’s end. But they need city approval to expand construction hours.

Developers were scheduled to appear before the Planning Board on Thursday night. But after chairman Peter Rossetti recused himself, the meeting lacked enough members for a vote. Rossetti excuses himself from all matters related the Hilltop property, which he represented as an attorney.

As a result, the matter will be taken up in January, said Rossetti.

If the request is granted, developers will start work a half hour earlier in the morning and continue for an extra 30 minutes at night.

Plans include turning the 14-acre site into a mixed-use development with apartments and shops. The front of the project will house one story of retail space, and three four-story apartment buildings will be in the rear.

The plan calls for 280 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, and a one-story clubhouse with an outdoor swimming pool.

Each dwelling will feature a bay window and most will have a balcony. The lobby of each apartment building will be open and face a common area to promote use of the retail space. The amount of glass used in the retail buildings was upped from 16 percent to more than 20.

Stores will range in size from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. A wall and fence will be added to the back and side edges of the site for privacy. The color scheme has yet to be determined.

Most recently, AvalonBay sought changes to include the addition of a dozen charging stations for electric cars and small changes to some of the elements already approved.

Stephen Martorano, senior project manager at Bohler Engineering, went over items they considered a “fine-tune” to the design approved last spring at a meeting on Thursday. The type of curbing being used in the residential area was altered, the residential sidewalks were raised to create separation from the retail space, and parking areas were changed.

More Stories From Saugus