NORTHBOROUGH – There’s limited land left open for development in Northborough, Town Administrator John Coderre told the Board of Selectmen at their annual tax classification hearing on Nov. 22.
“We are approaching build out, and so we aren’t going to see much more in the way of industrial development, commercial development,” Town Administrator John Coderre said.
Growth numbers are healthy, Town Administrator says
There was $61.5 million in new growth in FY2022, which Coderre called a “very healthy” number for Northborough.
He said that, often, there will be spikes in new growth around big development.
“But then you’ll also see long-term trends, like residential development and approaching build out,” he said.
A chart from Coderre’s presentation showed the impact of projects like Avalon Bay and Northborough Crossing on new growth figures. Those two projects, together, contributed the largest spike of new development that Northborough has seen in its history, he said.
At its peak in 2013, over $90 million in new growth was generated.
“We are not going to see that again because that land is developed,” Coderre said.
Over the subsequent years, the amount of new growth in Northborough dropped until fiscal years 2021 and 2022 when the numbers began to rise again.
In fiscal year 2022, new industrial growth generated $38.9 million and industrial values increased by 11 percent. Coderre said a “bulk” of the increased values came from four Bartlett Street developments, including Amazon’s facility there.
The development was completed for fiscal 2022.
“We don’t have the 100 and 150 contiguous acres of industrial land that we had 10 years ago,” Coderre said. “So, we do anticipate, again, new growth and that economic base starting to level off to a more of a historic $30 to $40 million a year.”
The one large, contiguous site is Kimball Sand Company on SW Cutoff, which is currently a gravel pit.
Those new growth projections aren’t a bad thing, Coderre said.
“We’re starting to think of ourselves, and we should be thinking of ourselves, [as] more of a maturing community approaching build out, and that has implications for when we talk later on next month about our growth and services and staffing and things of that nature,” Coderre said at this meeting, which was held in November.
Westborough State Hospital land
Selectman Leslie Rutan asked what was viable for Northborough when it comes to the large amount of land on the old Westborough State Hospital property.
According to Coderre, there are 300 acres in Northborough. But the “vast majority” is essentially conservation land and some of which still belongs to the hospital.
He estimated that there’s about three acres unspoken for in Northborough.
“We did make inquiries years ago about that. At this point, they’re not really interested in selling or doing anything with it,” Coderre said.
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