LAKE PLACID — After a year and half of planning and developing ideas to revitalize the downtown, Ken LeBlanc hopes to get started early next year on a $1 million residential project.
He will be going before the Lake Placid Local Planning Association on Monday, with his plans for a “pocket neighborhood,” on a .57 acre property at the northeast corner of East Bellview Street and North Pine Avenue.
“This particular project is what I call a ‘catalyst project’ for downtown,” LeBlanc said. “It is one of about 10 projects that I would like to see done downtown in this effort to help revitalize downtown.”
The neighborhood project, called “The Bellview Street Cottages,” will feature seven cottages, about 1,100 to 1,400 square-foot, with front porches facing a center courtyard. The development will have a community building, which include a room for birthday parties and small events within the community.
“It will be nicely landscaped; there will be a white picket fence around the project; it’s going to be a real pretty project,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc and his wife, Liz, are co-owners of The Cottage Company, a general contracting business located in Lake Placid.
LeBlanc has been working on downtown revitalization ideas with the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce and has partnered with Delray Farms owners, Randy Gilde and Ed Koornneef, on the Bellview Street project.
Both Gilde and Koorneef, through their company Cultivating Communities, have a desire to help the downtown revitalization effort, LeBlanc said.
Seattle architect Ross Chapin has been designing and doing these types of projects for years, LeBlanc noted. It has really become a type of movement - building pocket neighborhoods - that is spreading around the country.
LeBlanc said he may use some of Chapin’s designs
“It fits perfectly into a traditional neighborhood design, which our historic downtown is part of a traditional neighborhood design,” he said.
This development will encourage the interaction of residents like years ago in the cities, LeBlanc said. That interaction disappeared when cars came along.
“This is a community that is intended to take the car out of the picture and make the people more important than the car,” he said. “That’s why everybody has front porches facing the center courtyard.”
The development will have street angled parking with sidewalks.
The target market for the residences includes retirees, single parents and young adults.
After review by the Local Planing Association on Monday, the project will go before the town council on Aug. 11.
With approval of the plan development, LeBlanc said, the plans will be finalized and a sale price will be finalized.
They will seek pre-sales on some of the cottages prior to construction, LeBlanc said.
“I would like to be building this thing early next year; it depends on the pre-sales,” he said.
Town Administrator Phil Williams said, “It’s always exciting when you see someone who wants to put something in an old area of town where there is not much there now and make it better looking.”
Currently there is one single-family home on the property that will be razed for the project, LeBlanc said. They have two other properties nearby for future projects.