The proposed 148-room Residence Inn by Marriott hotel proposed on Arsenal Street took a major step forward Wednesday night when the Planning Board gave its support to the project.
The hotel would go on the former Charles River Saab site and would be owned by Boylston Properties, which also owns the Arsenal Project.
The hotel would have a modern look, with a mix of materials, including metal, a product that looks like wood and light colored tiles, said Fred Kramer, an architect with ADD Inc.
The hotel will not be a full service hotel, said Bill McQuillan, principle of Boylston Properties, meaning it will not have room service, bell hops, a place to buy coffee, a bar and a small meeting room. It will also have a pool and a patio on the top floor, both of which are only for guests.
Planning Board members and the public said they would like to see the hotel more welcoming to the public. McQuillan said the public could rent out the meeting room and could grab coffee and a drink, but other areas would be off limits for security reasons.
The hotel will have 119 parking spaces, four more than required. All the parking will be at street level in a lot next to the building. Planning Board member Jeffrey Brown said he would have liked to have seen some of the parking put in a garage under the hotel or at least under an overhang of the building. McQuillan said designers looked into that but it would have cost too much.
Other features of the hotel include covered and secure parking for bicycles, a spot for a zip car and the addition of two dozen trees and other plants along the street and in the parking lot. The storm water from the site will be captured by basins and other measures on site.
Boylston Properties also agreed to contribute to a transportation management association (TMA) to provide more public transit to the Arsenal Street area to handle new developments in the corridor on the Eastside of Watertown.
During a community meeting, some residents said the worried about traffic in the area, especially coming into and out of Elm Street. Turning left out of Elm Street on to Arsenal, and making a left from Arsenal onto Elm is tough now and will get tougher, said Town Councilor Angeline Kounelis.
A light has not been proposed by developers, but traffic will be studied after the hotel has been in place for 12 months to examine the situation.
The project will now go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for final approval.