Historic Resources Commission keeps Ninth and New Hampshire hotel/apartment project alive but height still a concern

A plan to build a multistory hotel and apartment building on the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets is still alive at City Hall, but its height continues to create concerns with the city board that oversees historic preservation issues.

The city’s Historic Resources Commission on Thursday night said it wanted to hear more information about the plans and sent the proposal to its Architectural Review Committee for more review. But it also directed the ARC and the developer to look at ways to reduce the proposed height of the building to roughly the size of the adjacent Lawrence Arts Center.

That would be much shorter than the plans that call for the hotel/apartment building to be six stories tall along New Hampshire Street and about four stories tall along its eastern edge, which is adjacent to a historic neighborhood. The Lawrence Arts Center is about two to three stories tall.

Developers of the project — a group led by Lawrence businessmen Mike Treanor and Doug Compton — have shortened the height of the building once already after residents of the adjacent neighborhood expressed concerns.

Bill Fleming, an attorney for the development group, said the group will continue to work with the city and neighbors.

“We’ve been very consistent with everybody that we need to build the building to a certain height to make the project work and to make the project a good one,” Fleming said. “But we want to do all we can to address the concerns that are out there.”

The Historic Resources Commission had denied the previous version of the project. The HRC will consider the new version after the architectural review committee provides its analysis of the project. A date for that meeting hasn’t been set.

If the HRC approves the project, it will have the necessary City Hall approvals to begin construction. If the HRC rejects the project, the developers could appeal the decision to the Lawrence City Commission.