Selectmen refuse option to purchase 150 acres
Northborough – The Loop retail development and the AvalonBay residential community projects moved significantly closer to becoming realities at the Board of Selectmen's June 25 meeting.
At the meeting, the selectmen unanimously voted not to exercise the town's option on the right of Continued from front page first refusal to purchase the 150 acres, better known as the Borgatti property at the intersection of routes 9 and 20, that is to become the Loop and AvalonBay.
Northborough possessed the right of first refusal on the property because the land is covered under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 61A and considered agricultural or horticultural land.
"All the boards and departments in town were asked for their opinion on whether we should exercise our option to buy the land and not one board, department or town official had any opinion other than that we should not purchase the land," Town Administrator Barry Brenner said.
The sale price of the property, Brenner said, is approximately $11.5 million.
Kevin Giblin, owner of Brendon Properties Two LLC, the development company behind the Loop project, purchase 150 acres
told the board it was imperative that he move as quickly as possible to buy the property and begin construction.
"We need to be in the ground, the latest, the second week in August if we want make our fall of '08 opening," Giblin said. "One of our major tenants is going to be Kohl's and they only open twice a year – in the fall and spring. So, if we miss on the fall of '08 then it will be the spring of '09 before we can open and we could lose them as a tenant to other retail developments being planned in the area."
Marshall Gould, the attorney representing Giblin, said they expect to close the sale the first week of August. Because the land is covered under Chapter 61A, Gould told the board the town will receive back taxes of about $250,000 when the sale is final.
Selectman Jeff Amberson, an outdoorsman and a proponent of the town purchasing land for the purpose of preserving it as open space, has whole-heartedly embraced these projects.
"There's probably nobody in this room who has spent more time up on that property than I have, hunting and hiking," Amberson said. "If there is anyone who would like that land to stay exactly the way it is now, it's me, but even I know that's not practical for the town of Northborough."
Giblin applauded the board for all its hard work and cooperation on the project.
"I grew up here, I lived here, I plan to be here," Giblin said. "I'm not going to do something that is going to make people want to hit me with a bat every time I step into Town Hall.
"We will not let you down on this. I guarantee it will be the finest shopping center you visit," Giblin added. "And it will have a special emphasis on restaurants, because if there's one thing I know I do well, it's eat."
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