MassDevelopment
Celebrating 20 Years

Carriage Grove, Belchertown

Carriage Grove is a new neighborhood in Belchertown with mountain views, master planned for up to 581,000 square feet of mixed-use development. 

  • Multifamily residential lots of up to 24 acres and commercial lots of up to 9 acres are now available.
  • Historic building renovation and adaptive reuse opportunity now available.
  • Christopher Heights, an 83-unit assisted living facility, opened in June 2018.
  • 7.5 acres available for retail, medical, or office use along Route 202.
  • Within 10 miles of the UMass Amherst campus and its 30,340 graduate and undergraduate students.

 

Rendering of Carriage Grove, Belchertown


 

Project Background

Following the Belchertown State School closure in 1992, the Belchertown Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (BEDIC) purchased the Carriage Grove site from the Commonwealth. The main campus of the property contained almost 400,000 square feet of abandoned buildings and utility tunnels with significant environmental issues that required abatement and demolition. After several years, the BEDIC and the town asked MassDevelopment for assistance in moving this development project forward.

Serving as the BEDIC’s agent, MassDevelopment has worked with the town of Belchertown and the BEDIC since late 2012 to create a development vision and pre-permitted master plan for the site. The plan addresses regional housing demand as part of a larger mixed-use development, which will retain community character while providing employment and growth opportunities.

In December 2014, the town adopted a “Business Neighborhood” zoning district, which provides flexibility for mixed-use neighborhood development – allowing medical, retail, restaurant, industrial and certain residential uses – and encourages commercial and cultural activities.

The project has received a Certificate for the Final Environmental Impact Report through the MEPA state permitting process. Concurrent with predevelopment activities, MassDevelopment executed a contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for funding to remove the deteriorated structures. The BEDIC and MassDevelopment were successful in leveraging Commonwealth funds to receive multiple U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Clean Up awards. As of July 2018, approximately 250,000 square feet of vacant buildings have been abated and demolished.

In June 2018, Christopher Heights of Belchertown opened their 83-unit, mixed-income assisted living facility, creating 40 permanent jobs and supporting 65 construction jobs. The town invested $1.25 million to construct the roads and utilities infrastructure necessary to support the assisted living facility and open the larger site for development opportunities, completing work in 2018.

In order to develop more of the site, MassDevelopment worked with the community to design Carriage Drive and applied for funding through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts MassWorks Infrastructure Program. In October 2017, MassWorks awarded MassDevelopment $3 million to go towards construction of Carriage Drive. This 2,000 linear-feet road and associated utilities and amenities, which is currently under construction, opens up the entire site for housing and commercial/industrial uses. The new infrastructure also realigns Jackson Street to mitigate traffic impact to an established residential neighborhood.

Future Development

MassDevelopment is offering up to 24 acres of land for sale for the development of approximately 250-300 units of senior independent, multifamily, townhome, and live-work housing. The site at Carriage Grove abuts conservation land, a newly opened assisted living facility, and a growing village center. Business Neighborhood Center zoning will allow flexibility of design. 

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In addition, the former Belchertown State School Administration Building is for sale. The former administration building is offered for adaptive reuse and renovation. It comprises two joined structures (built in 1926 and 1967) that may accommodate mixed uses. Totaling approximately 14,000 square feet, the 1926 structure has ground and first floors, while the 1967 structure has ground, first, and second floors. The building has been vacant since 1992 but retains some architectural features. MassDevelopment has prepared a state historic tax credit application and associated architectural analysis and drawings, and will provide these documents to the successful respondent to assist with the building’s rehabilitation should the development team decide to seek historic tax credits.

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For more information, contact:

Claire O'Neill
VP Planning & Development
Direct: 508-363-2799 x134
Email: coneill@massdevelopment.com