Developer eyes possible office/industrial park at Centech North “Allen Property”

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Photo/by Dakota Antelman
An abandoned hard hat rests next to a rusted fence on the currently vacant Centech North site in Shrewsbury.

By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

SHREWSBURY – A Wakefield developer is under agreement to acquire Centech North, a 60-acre site located at 384-386 South St. formerly known as the “Allen Property.”

Speaking to elected officials April 1, Owen Hall of NorthBridge Partners celebrated the news. 

“We are eager and excited to work with the town to come up with a great plan,” he said.

Developer, outside firm introduce plans to stakeholders

NorthBridge is in the process of finalizing plans to create a three-building commercial logistics park that will combine the two parcels of land known as Subdistrict A (northerly parcel) and Subdistrict B (southerly parcel).

Once complete, these facilities could house companies in industries from logistics/supply chain, to traditional manufacturing, to office/research and development, to biotech/pharma manufacturing to eCommerce logistics.

Hall and Lawrence Beals from civil engineering firm Beals Associates, Inc. met April 1 with the Planning Board as well as members of the Board of Selectmen, the Shrewsbury Development Corporation and the Conservation Commission to begin initial discussions for possible plans for the site.

They are currently working with NorthBridge on this effort.

“We are here for two functions,” Beals said. “We want to present the project to you but we also want to listen to you.”

Beals shared that the NorthBridge plan efficiently utilizes the Centech land while maximizing economic benefits for the town through job creation and tax revenue.

He noted that the underlying zoning is commercial but added that there are some residences along South Street.

NorthBridge seeks ‘campus’ approach

Photo by/Dakota Antelman
The Centech North site sits largely empty off South Street in Shrewsbury.

NorthBridge is proposing a three-building campus with a 190,000 square foot building to the north, a 102,000 square foot building in the middle and a 16,000 square foot building to the south. 

They have designed an entrance for cars only off of South Street while restricting truck traffic access to Route 20. 

Beals said that utilities will route underground and water and sewer will, subject to town review and approval, come in off of South Street, loop though the site and come out to a water main on Route 20.

Being mindful of wetlands on the property and residential neighborhoods also nearby, Beals listed mitigation measures such as maintaining residential buffers and creating a box culvert to protect the wetlands.

“We’ve employed a lot of green technology in terms of stormwater management, tree wells and infiltration,” he said. “We know that that is going to be a critical factor in whether or not this project gets approved or rejected by the Conservation Commission.”

Planning Board raises concerns

Having heard Beals’ presentation, Planning Board Chair Steven Boulay shared concerns regarding traffic issues. Colleagues supported him. 

In line with his questioning, he then asked Beals what he thought the most likely use of the site would be. 

Beals replied that spaces for logistics/supply chain and biotech companies remain in high demand.

From here, Beals and NorthBridge will file for a Campus Plan Special Permit and Site Plan Review.