I got a look at Tony Kwan's plans for the old Saxonville Lumber site yesterday. While as Brett said in the comments, the plan isn't everything I hoped it might be, it's a huge improvement over what's there now, and a lot better than plenty of other possible site uses.
[caption id="attachment_744" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Model of Riverview Plaza project at the old Saxonville Lumber site. Click image to see larger version."][/caption]
Here's a photo of the model of what the Saxonville Riverview Plaza would look like. The existing larger building will be kept where it is, but renovated to become a "two-story facility with a contemporized colonial facade." An "ornamental exterior deck" would be a covered walkway with planters. This building would be used as a health club, medical offices and small bank area. The new, smaller building would be for retail.
[caption id="attachment_748" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Artist rendition of proposed Riverview Plaza building facades (click image to view larger version)."][/caption]
You can see an artist's rendition of what the building facades would look like in the photo at the right.
Developer Tony Kwan says he's willing to donate some property to widen Concord Street there and provide an additional travel lane. The big intersection on the model photo above is at Concord and A streets.
I'm not a traffic-flow expert, and am not sure how you'd keep traffic from backing up on Concord and School streets with a traffic light at Concord and A. But I hope that can be figured out.
I do know something about pedestrian-friendly development and walkability, and that entrance/exit with the three lanes of cars going in and out needs to be redesigned; an unbroken driveway three lanes wide is a walkable-streetscape killer. This can be easily fixed by cutting the entering and exiting driveway to two lanes; or, if that's not possible, by putting a decent divider between the entering and exiting lanes, giving walkers a wide enough place to pause and not feel threatened by the traffic. In addition, a great deal of thought needs to be given to that intersection to make it not only theoretically possible to cross the street safely, but make it feel safe and like a compelling walking corridor.
[caption id="attachment_746" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Poster explaining some features of the proposed Riverview Plaza. Click image to see larger version"][/caption]
One of the most intriguing parts of the project is a so-called "pocket park" that will give both access and view to the Sudbury River. Here's a photo of an explainer for the park. Plans say it will include paved walkways, benches overlooking the river, bicycle racks and a drinking fountain. I hope he'll consider including a restaurant or cafe with outdoor seating facing the river and that park, to integrate the two and make the park part of the retail experience, instead of having a big blank wall with no windows or doors facing the river.
In general, though, this is a great addition to the Saxonville business district, since right now it's all but impossible to see or enjoy the river from most commercial areas of the Saxonville business district.
The Conservation Commission is scheduled to consider the project on Oct. 1, and the Planning Board on Oct. 16.