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Northampton Officials Break Ground on Latest Village Hill Development

April 24, 2012 : The Republican, by Fred Contrada

NORTHAMPTON - With the toss of a half dozen shovels, the latest development at Village Hill officially got under way Tuesday.

Mayor David J. Narkewicz and Kent Pecoy joined officials from MassDevelopment at the ground-breaking for 24 new houses being built by Pecoy Homes, a construction company based in West Springfield. The plots for the homes, which are already marked, lie next to a group of townhouses built by Community Builders and mark the current frontier of the Village Hill project.

The former Northampton State Hospital campus was turned over to the city in the 1990s as patients were moved into smaller community homes. The 536-acre property represented the city's greatest chance in recent memory to create new commercial, industrial and residential space. About half of the approximately 300 housing units targeted for the site have already been built.

The south campus, across Route 116 from the residential area, had been set aside for a variety of new commercial and light industrial businesses. Defense contractor L-3 KEO, formerly called Kollmorgen Electro-Optical, has taken the lion’s share of the space for its new headquarters.

The Pecoy development will feature a variety of single-family homes ranging in size from 1,000-1,800 square feet and in style from Greek Revival to Colonial to Victorian. There will be one-bedroom bungalows and two-story homes with two to four bedrooms.

Narkewicz called the project exciting and cited the hard work done by the Citizens Advisory Committee in promoting affordable housing at Village Hill. Although not classified as "affordable," the Pecoy homes will be priced in the $300,000 range, the average for Northampton.

MassDevelopment CEO Marty Jones said the energy-efficient houses are in keeping with the "green" emphasis at Village Hill.

"Here at Village Hill Northampton we see acts of green all around us," Jones said, citing the bike path through the development and the tree that was planted as part of Tuesday's ceremony.

Pecoy hailed the ground-breaking as a sign of better things to come.

"We all know what the last five years have been like in the construction industry," he said. "It's nice to see something coming together."

The new homes will be built on an as-ordered basis. Realtor Patrick M. Goggins has not listed them yet, but Pecoy plans to begin work on a model bungalow soon.

© Copyright 2012 The Republican.