WESTBOROUGH – The Westborough Select Board is discussing what to do with a now town-owned property off Route 9 that was once occupied by a Regal Cinemas location.
More than four years after the movie theater chain abruptly closed its Westborough location, this discussion follows a court decision earlier this month that handed ownership of the property to the town.
“This has been a ton of work… I think it’s taken a long time,” said Select Board member Ian Johnson during a meeting on Tuesday.
“Now, we can make decisions and move forward and, once and for all, get that property back in service,” Johnson continued.
Sudden closure prompted search for owners
Regal Cinema closed unexpectedly in 2017.
That, according to Town Manager Kristi Williams, led to a search for the property’s owners.
The property went before Town Meeting, which approved an appraisal.
Williams said the town considered other options before deciding in 2019 to begin a process known as tax title.
A court then formalized the property’s foreclosure this month.
“So, now the town is the owner of the property,” Williams said.
Town eyes options for Regal site
The Select Board appointed Treasurer/Collector Bob Haley as the custodian of the property. This, Williams said, is a typical step when the town receives these kinds of tax title properties.
Williams said the next step involves developing a plan to dispose of the property.
There are two options, she said. Under one option, the property could be put up for a public auction.
A second option would have the town ask voters at Town Meeting to transfer the property from the custodian to the Select Board for disposition.
There’s a third option where the town could keep the property and do something with it, Johnson said. He noted that he was not advocating for that option, though.
Like other buildings, Williams said there will be costs to care for the facility, such as insurance and maintenance.
“Certainly, I think we’re all looking forward to getting this building back onto the tax rolls,” Williams said.
Conversations will continue regarding this topic. Those conversations, however, will occur in executive session moving forward, according to Williams.