Berlin Plaza Granted EDUs For Apartments

BERLIN — With equivalent dwelling units (EDUs) secured this week, a new combination retail and residential building got a little bit closer to hitting Berlin.

The Renaissance Plaza, which will be located on North Main Street, requested three EDUs from the town this week to handle its water and sewer needs.

The EDUs will be allocated for the top floor of the building, which is set to contain six, one-bedroom apartments.

A fourth EDU which already exists for the site will be for the bottom floor, which will house retail businesses including a newly relocated Toy Town, which will be moving across the street into the plaza from its current location and expanding its floor space.

Each of the apartments will be between 560 and 575 square feet. The overall size of the plaza, which is owned by John Barrett, is approximately 15,000 square feet.

Typically, a building of the plaza’s size with residential units would be required to purchase more EDUs. However, because each apartment is only one bedroom and the entire bottom floor is devoted to retail, Town Administrator Tony Carson explained that less water usage is expected than if it was used entirely for multifamily residential.

However, if Barrett chooses to install a water-intensive business like a restaurant or salon on the bottom floor, Carson said that the town would re-examine how many EDUs are needed.

“We would revisit that before they go forward,” he said.

Additionally, if it turns out that the six apartments are using more water than anticipated, Carson revealed that Berlin has the option of revisiting that arrangement in the future as well.

“The town has the ability in two years to do a calculation,” he said.

For the time being, the three additional EDUs are considered sufficient. They will each cost $16,686, for a combined total of $50,058. The council agreed to accept a 10-percent immediate deposit from Barrett while allowing him to finance the reaming roughly $45,000 over the course of five years.

Mayor Gee Williams remarked the arrangement was beneficial for all parties involved. While Barrett begins a new business venture, the town experiences continued growth. With a number of new businesses besides the Plaza recently opening in Berlin, including Burley Oak Brewery and Cupcakes in Bloom, Williams opinioned that, where some towns have to worry about the spread of urban blight, “redevelopment spreads just as well.”