Skip to main content

Your Tewksbury Today

Ginsburg Updates Board On Plans For 192-Unit Complex

Jun 19, 2015 03:30AM ● By Bill Gilman

Developer Marc Ginsburg (foreground) and his team updated the Board of Selectmen on his plans to build a 192-unit apartment complex off Victor Drive.

While not a requirement of the process, developer Marc Ginsburg and members of his team appeared before the Board of Selectmen last week to provide an overview and answer questions regarding his plans to build a 192-unit apartment complex off Victor Drive.
Selectmen voiced concerns about the size of the project, its compatibility with the character of the town and Ginsburg's preference not to include "affordable housing" units.
"Obviously, you're doing what you think is right. My concern, going onward, what does the town want to do, as far as planning goes," said Selectman David Gay. "Do they want to continue large-scale, multi-family developments all over the place? No, i don't think they do. At least I don't, personally, as a resident. So i appreciate all you're doing, it's just the size of the project that’s got my attention."
Ginsburg's project calls for four 5-story apartment buildings, each with 48 units, on a 38.25-acre parcel of land. Each building has a ground level for parking and four floors of 12 units each. In all, the complex will feature 128 two-bedroom units and 65 one-bedroom units.
Ginsburg, along with business partner Arnie Martel, acquired and in 2011 for just over $3 million. 
Ginsburg told Gay he appreciated his concerns but the board that the parcel has been zoned for multi-family construction for decades. He also said current zoning, which allow seven units per acre, would have allowed him to build a subdivision on the property with multiple duplexes, tri-plexes and quad-plexes, utilizing all 38.25 acres.
With this project, Ginsburg said he plans to donate 14 acres to the town for passive recreation, build a 30-car parking area for events at the nearby Wynn School, construct a new eight-foot wide sidewalk along Victor Drive and constrict a 1,900 foot walking path that would connect Victor Drive with Livingston Street, near the Recreation Complex.
In regard to affordable housing, state law requires that a developer set aside 15 percent of the units in a project as "affordable" as determined by a state formula, if a town has not met its 10 percent affordable housing threshold. With this project project, that would mean 29 units.
However, the law also allows a developer the option of instead paying the town $25,000 per obligated affordable unit. In his proposal, Ginsburg said he prefers to pay the town $725,000 in lieu of the affordable units.
That didn't set well with Board Chairman Todd Johnson, who said he would prefer the 29 units be added to the town's affordable housing stock and asked Ginsburg to keep an open mind.
Ginsburg did say that as part of this project, he planned to transfer two acres of land along Main Street to the town. That land would be earmarked specifically for an affordable housing project.
Ginsburg has presented his project to both the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission, both of whom need to sign off on it. The Department of Transportation is also taking a look at the project and its potential impact on traffic at the intersection of Victor Drive and Main Street.
Ginsburg also took time to thank Town Manager Richard Montuori for allowing him to present his plans at a recent meeting of the town department heads. Montuori only recently began inviting developers to do this, as means of presenting information about projects to all of the departments at the same time, allowing all of the departments to submit comments and concerns to the permitting boards in a timely fashion.
"It seems to move things along. By the time you actually go to the Planning Board, all the comments are in one place and you understand them," said Montuori. "You have the most complete package you can provide to the Planning Board for their review, their input, their questions."
"It has been an invaluable tool," said Ginsburg.
Ginsburh will be back before the Planning Board on Monday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. 

Follow us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at @TewksburyToday Follow us on Instagram at YourTewksburyToday