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BEDIC, MassDevelopment Select Assisted Living Developer for Belchertown Redevelopment

July 24, 2014


Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)

The Belchertown Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (BEDIC) and MassDevelopment have taken significant steps toward the redevelopment of the former Belchertown State School, most notably the selection of a developer for the project’s assisted living component. Grantham Group LLC, a Boston-based assisted living developer, plans to build an 83-unit complex (more than 40 of which will be affordable) at a parcel known as Pad 1. The project will support 65 construction jobs and create 40 permanent positions.

In June, MassDevelopment received a certificate under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act setting the stage for the assisted living facility. Earlier in July, Governor Deval Patrick ordered the release of $4 million to clean up contamination at the site, with $1 million available this fiscal year. MassDevelopment is currently assessing hazardous materials and remediation strategies at the Pad 1 site in advance of remediation.

“These milestones represent major progress toward productively reusing the Belchertown State School,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “I especially want to thank the Legislature and the Patrick Administration for enacting legislation transferring the 7.5-acre parcel along Route 202 to the BEDIC, a key move that will allow this transformation to take place.”

MassDevelopment and town officials are also working to develop a Business Neighborhood District zone that the Planning Board, Board of Selectmen, and BEDIC have strongly supported. The group will seek voter approval for this zoning change at the next Special Town Meeting. A public hearing on August 20 will outline how the Business Neighborhood District zoning revises the BEDIC development plan for the site to allow for light industrial, assisted living, retail, commercial, and limited residential uses.

BelArts LLC, which has proposed an artisan solar village, is presenting to the BEDIC on August 6. The organization proposes ground and elevated solar installations that would support artisan live/work units, and hospitality and independent living spaces.

“The BEDIC is most pleased with the progress being made on several fronts to redevelop the former State School,” said BEDIC Chairman William Terry. “We have been at this for over 20 years with strong support from the town along the way. Now, with our agent, MassDevelopment, we feel the ball is really rolling. There are still many steps to be taken and questions to be answered before we can say we have a final plan and partners to do it.”

Grantham Group LLC is the developer and operator of several assisted living facilities in Massachusetts including Christopher Heights in Marlborough, a 54,000-square-foot assisted living facility on a former brownfields site.

“We look forward to bringing our expertise in assisted living development and management to the Belchertown State School redevelopment,” said Grantham Group Managing Director Walter Ohanian. “Thank you to the BEDIC and MassDevelopment for choosing us as partners for this project.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2013, MassDevelopment financed or managed 350 projects generating investment of more than $2.4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 7,000 jobs and build or rehabilitate 800 residential units.