For the last few years, Rantoul Street has been the road of choice for developers looking to put up new buildings in Beverly.
Now, it's Cabot Street's turn.
A developer has filed plans with the city to build a three-story apartment building in a parking lot at 130 Cabot St., next to the Siam Delight restaurant and Sam's Cleaners.
If the plan is approved, it would be the first significant new construction in the main section of downtown in years.
"We think the downtown is moving toward the Beverly-Salem bridge a little more," said Jeff Holloran, the developer who plans to buy the property if the project is approved. "We wanted to bridge the gap."
The proposal calls for 13 apartments, with space for two retail stores on the first floor. Gin Wallace, executive director of Beverly Main Streets, said the plan meshes with her organization's efforts to bring both more residents and retail to the downtown.
"Most of the residential stuff is happening on Rantoul, but we're really excited about (this plan) because it fits right into our vision for the downtown with residential above and retail below," Wallace said. "The more people you have living downtown, the more people you have for the businesses."
The parking lot at 130 Cabot St., at the corner of Vestry Street, has been owned by Jay Levy since 1995. He has rented the lot to various businesses over the years, including the Registry of Motor Vehicles, but said the lot has essentially been a "hole" at that end of Cabot Street.
Levy, who has owned an office/retail building across the street since 1978, said the combination of an apartment building and retail stores should provide a boost for the area.
"This end of Cabot Street is kind of a neglected end of Cabot Street," he said. "Once you get past City Hall, the retail kind of falls off. If they put up a building and there's some retail, it will extend the retail on Cabot Street and help some of the other retail in this area."
Wallace said there has been little new construction on downtown Cabot Street because of the lack of available space. Most of the recent residential construction in the city has taken place on Rantoul Street, where developer Windover Construction is trying to take advantage of the street's proximity to the train station.
Windover, which built the Depot Square condominiums in 2006, recently completed a three-story building with 38 apartments next to The Pickled Onion. It is also planning to build an apartment building at the Enterprise car rental lot farther down Rantoul Street toward the bridge, as well as transform the Beverly Self-Storage building on Pleasant Street into affordable housing for veterans.
The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the 130 Cabot St. proposal on June 19 at 9:30 p.m. at City Hall.
If the project is approved, construction could begin in the fall or early winter, with the building opening in the spring or summer of 2013, Holloran said.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or by email at email@example.com.