Downtowns don’t often have room to expand, but a proposed development would add a three-story building to Clayton’s Main Street.
On what is now a vacant lot at the corner of Main and Smith streets, Gene and Ana Stephenson plan to put up a 7,700-square-foot red-brick building. The first floor would be home to an insurance agency and possibly other businesses. The rest of the building would bring a few more residents downtown, with plans for three two-story apartments on the second and third floors.
The proposed development got a ringing endorsement from the town’s planning department, which called it model for future downtown development.
“We in the planning department are very excited about this project,” town planner Jay McLeod said. “We’ve been seeing a lot of activity and interest in developments along Main Street. To have a new building on the east end of Main Street, we’re very excited. If it gets approval, we’re very happy to hold this up as an example to anyone looking to redevelop along Main Street, as an example of the quality of development we’re looking for.”
According to the plans, the first floor would have about 2,000 square feet, all of it office space. The other floors would be divided into three two-story, 1,200-square-foot apartments, with each floor being around 600 square feet. Each apartment would have a balcony facing Main Street. A shared balcony in the rear would run the width of the building, with an uncovered stairway leading from a parking lot to the second floor.
The project adds 18 parking spaces, 12 in a parking lot behind the building and six new street spaces along Main and Smith streets.
In the fall of 2012, the Stephensons opened an insurance office and, on the success of that, now need more space, Gene “Sandy” Stephenson told the planning board.
“I’d rather own a building than rent a building,” he said. “The mixed-use option was the option that made the most sense for us but also for the town of Clayton. I think it will add a lot of value to downtown, will attract new people to this area who like to walk to eat, walk to shop.”
The planning board questioned parking, the safety of the rear stairwell and whether the development would have recycling containers but was satisfied by answers within the application. Downtown Development Association president and planning board member James Lipscomb conveyed the DDA’s enthusiasm for the building.
“I’m hopeful this is a catalyst to bring other good things downtown,” Lipscomb said.
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson