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Developers Get Brownfields Funds to Clean Up Urban Farm Property

September 23, 2013 :, by Dyke Hendrickson

NEWBURYPORT – The development team that plans to create an urban farm off Route 1 has received a $525,000 loan to clean up contaminated land there.

Hall and Moskow, Inc. will receive the financial aid from MassDevelopment, a state agency created to stimulate the economy through loans and other financial aid.

Hall and Moskow is planning to build a residential complex on a five-acre parcel in the city that had been abandoned. The acreage, on Cottage Court near the corner of Route 1 and Pond Street, had been home to a landscaping business, but over the years, it had fallen into disarray and much of the soil was contaminated.

The firm bought the property about three years ago, and has removed almost 3,000 tons of suspect soil.

The loan is coming from MassDevelopment’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund.

“This fund is a proven economic development tool, paving the way for development on challenging sites,” said Marty Jones, president and CEO of MassDevelopment. “We’re pleased to provide this loan so the company can transform the parcel into another vibrant residential Newburyport neighborhood.”

David Hall, a principal in the Newburyport firm, said the loan will be helpful to their project.

“We’ve actually done a lot of the work, and this funding will allow us to pay some bills and keep the project going,” he said.

The Hall and Moskow team is known for developing The Tannery Marketplace, the shopping complex on Water Street that features green assets such as solar power, reconditioned building materials and a retractable room covering that permit it to host a farmer's market in four-season weather conditions.

On Cottage Court, they plan to construct a residential townhouse development stressing solar power, water recycling, composting and urban farming on the site, which would be the first of such a development in Newburyport.

Hall has said that he plans to develop “clusters” of units on the property. Designers will leave enough green space to permit residents to develop outdoor gardens and to take advantage of a winter greenhouse.

The developer said that land reclamation is almost complete, and site preparation could begin in late October.

Hall and Moskow is one of the largest corporate landholders in the city, owning 27 multifamily buildings containing 85 apartments. Hall has not stated how many units will be constructed on Cottage Court but suggested the number could be between 20 and 30.

The residences, which would include affordable units, would be available for lease, not sale. Hall has estimated that the lease could be $2,000 per month.

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