By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Shrewsbury – As Howard Grossman gazed over the nearly 100 town and state officials and local business leaders gathered at the site of the former Spag’s store on Route 9 June 7, he noted that “it had been a long time coming.”
“It” was the official groundbreaking for Lakeway Commons, the new multi-use development that Grossman’s company, Grossman Development Group, LLC, will be building on the site. And although there had been many obstacles to overcome leading up to that day, he was “proud and excited” to be going forward with what many believe will be an asset to Shrewsbury’s economy.
“What we didn’t know about [initially] going into this project was the complexities that would test our patience and perseverance,” he said. “But I am so proud of what we have accomplished so far and grateful for all of the support.”
Grossman plans to build a 375,000-square-foot mixed-use development, comprised of 100,000 square feet of retail, with a 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods store as the anchor, 250 apartments, and 14 for-sale townhomes on the property. Because the property had so many complex roadways, easements and other zoning issues, permission was needed from Town Meeting members to change the zoning. The project had also been delayed by an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit against Grossman Development Group and the Board of Selectmen by another developer.
Grossman noted that as his team worked on the Lakeway Commons proposal, they learned about the property’s former owner, Anthony “Spag” Borgatti and what he and his iconic store had meant to the community for so long. To honor that legacy, a small monument and plaque will be installed at Lakeway Commons, he said.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, thanked Grossman for what she said was a “beautiful tribute” for the Borgatti family.
She herself, like many other Shrewsbury teens, had worked at Spag’s, she recalled, noting it was a “rite of passage.”
Alluding to the recent controversial measure to ban plastic bags in stores in the town, Polito added, “[Borgatti] was ahead of his time – no bags at Spag’s!”
“Many [Lakeway District] businesses had worked hard to make the district attractive,” she said. “Thank you for dreaming big and thinking big.”
Addressing Grossman, she said, “It’s a real win for Shrewsbury – you are part of our community now and part of our history.”
State Rep. Hannah Kane, R-Shrewsbury, addressed the audience, saying that “it cannot be understated how important this project is for Shrewsbury,” first during the construction phase which will bring jobs to the town and then when the businesses are open.
“Economically it will help Shrewsbury but also aesthetically in the area,” she added.
“The Borgattis were a big part of Shrewsbury and in many ways,” she said. “With Howard, Shrewsbury has struck gold again.”
Other businesses that have announced their intention to be part of Lakeway Commons include Visionworks, Sweet Pizza, Unibank and Jenny Boston. The development is slated to open in the summer of 2017.
The four photos shown below depict the proposed design for Lakeway Commons. Stores names were put in at this time for design purposes only.