Developer proposes 400,000-square-foot warehouse near Shrewsbury border

6801
Photo by/Laura Hayes
Trees and open space wrap around a cul-de-sac where developers want to build a 400,000-square foot warehouse.

By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer

SHREWSBURY — A developer wants to build a nearly 400,000-square-foot distribution facility just across the Shrewsbury border in Boylston.

The facility would be located next to FedEx on Pine Hill Drive. The plans went before the Boylston Planning Board and Conservation Commission on May 17 after drawing some attention from Shrewsbury residents in recent weeks.

The project is being developed by the Boston-based NorthBridge Partners, which is also developing a warehouse and office campus site at Centech Park North in Shrewsbury. 

“It’s a great location for a business that relies on transportation systems,” said Larry Beals of the engineering firm Beals Associates Inc.

During his presentation to the Planning Board, Beals said NorthBridge does not have a definite tenant for the site. 

NorthBridge details plans for development

The site is about 60 acres and located within Boylston’s flexible business development district. Beals noted that some of the uses allowed by a special permit included distribution centers and warehouses. 

NorthBridge is proposing a 396,375 square-foot distribution facility with two office spaces totaling 10,250 square feet. 

Photo/Courtesy of Town of Boylston
Draft plans show NorthBridge Partners’ vision for a site near the Boylston/Shrewsbury border.

Drivers would enter the site off a current cul-de-sac on Pine Hill Drive. They would then turn into one of the parking lots. NorthBridge is proposing a total of 427 parking spaces. 

Loading docks would be constructed on the north and south sides of the building. Any emergency vehicles would be able to drive around the entire facility. 

NorthBridge is anticipating a total of 148 new daily trips during the week. 

Beals estimated that 70 percent of the traffic from the site would use Interstate 290. He said that traffic would use Pine Hill, turn right onto Shrewsbury Street, and then enter Interstate 290. 

Development navigates wetland plans

According to NorthBridge’s plans submitted to Boylston, there are wetlands throughout the site, including near the proposed entrance. 

Beals said they examined how the nearby FedEx facility crossed the water and found that they were using an open bottom culvert. NorthBridge plans to use a similar approach.

In some places where NorthBridge wants to fill in the wetlands, Beals proposed replicating those wetlands in other places on its site. 

Developers eye next steps

NorthBridge hopes to start construction on the site shortly after it receives approval from the Conservation Commission and Planning Board.

With construction estimated to take about nine months, the project may be done in mid-2022. 

The plans will come back to the Planning Board for a hearing on Tuesday, June 15, and they will go back to the Conservation Commission on Monday, June 21.

Beals said this will allow the developers to sync the plans and come back with a set of plans that make both boards happy.