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Developers Float Idea of 87-Unit Condo Project At Ames Pond

Jun 18, 2014 02:55PM, Published by Bill Gilman, Categories: Business, Today, Town Hall


Residents glance over the preliminary drawing of plans for a residential development for 300 Ames Pond Drive.


Gallery: Ames Pond Development [3 Images] Click any image to expand.



In 2013, Tewksbury voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of a Slots Parlor being built at Ames Pond.
A year later, developers have decided to see if there is support for a residential project at the same location.
Leggat McCall Properties, owners of the 30-acre parcel at 300 Ames Pond Drive, and Northland Residential Corporation of Burlington, are partnering on a project that would result in an estimated 87 townhouse style condo units (29 buildings) being constructed on the property. Such a project would require Tewksbury voters to approve re-zoning the land from commercial to multi-family residential use.
William Gause, executive vice president of LMP, and John Dawley, CEO of Northland, gave an overview of the proposal to the Board of Selectmen and about a dozen interested residents, Tuesday night.
Gause said the present climate in the real estate market and the strong views expressed by Tewksbury residents over the years prompted the decision to pursue a residential project. The vote on the slots parlor was the second time residents have rejected a commercial project on the land. 
Gause said in his opinion, the commercial real estate market was showing no signs of recovery from its collapse due to the real estate "bubble burst" several years ago.
"There is a limited demand for office space in the (Route) 495 market area," he said. "The rents right now are not sufficient to justify new construction."
In explaining the proposal for the residential development, Dawley said the types of townhouse units built would be geared toward the needs of residents 55-over and that they would be marketed as such. He did not, however, recommend a 55-over deed restriction.
Dawley estimated the condos would be priced in the $400,000 -  $500,000 range. If that estimate held true, the assessed value of the property, presently at $1,527,600 (according to town records), could increase to as high as $13 million.
Several residents in attendance at the Selectmen's meeting Tuesday had questions and concerns regarding the project. Most of the concerns had to deal with the impact of the project on nearby neighborhoods, particularly Cardigan Road. Both the developers and town officials said the project was only in its conceptual stages and that several impact studies still need to be done.
Selectman Scott Wilson said he preferred a small scale development such as the one proposed by Northland, to a 40B affordable housing development, which has the potential to bring 200-300 unites to the same 30-acre space.
But Selectman Bruce Panalaitis said he felt is was too early to give up on using the land for commercial development.
"I'm skeptical of this type of proposal," he said. "We are at a point where we have a limited amount of (developable) commercial properties available."
Panalaitis also disputed the claim by Gause that the commercial real estate market was not showing signs of recovery.
Just two weeks ago, Leggett McCall finalized a deal to sell Ames Pond Corporate Center at 100-200 Ames Pond Drive to Tritower Financial Group of Burlington. According to therealreporter.com, the firm had purchased the property in 1999 for $9.9 million. According to the same report, the purchase price for TriTower was close to $16 million. Current tenants include Covenant Health, Starent Networks, Cambridge Heart, CompuCom, MetLife, Inc., WellPet and X-Rite.

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