Developers eye campus-style project at Westborough BJ’s headquarters site

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BJ’s announced plans to relocate its Westborough headquarters to Marlborough last year. Developers plans now call for the demolition of the 25 Research Drive site in Westborough. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

WESTBOROUGH – A developer wants to demolish existing structures and build a new campus-style facility at the current BJ’s headquarters at 25 Research Drive in Westborough, according to plans filed with the Town of Westborough. 

The plans call for four new buildings at the prominent site overlooking Route 9. 

This comes after BJ’s revealed plans last year to move its headquarters to Marlborough, subsequently negotiating a tax-increment financing agreement with the Marlborough City Council. 

That deal starts in July and will run for 20 years. 

Office building holds history in Westborough

A familiar sight for Westborough commuters, the large concrete structure at 25 Research Drive has been the BJ’s headquarters for the past 10 years.

For many residents, though, the site is remembered as the home of National Grid, which remained in town until 2011. 

The property’s defining office building has stood in its current location since 1965, a fact that prompted an outpouring of memories when BJ’s initially announced its plans to leave. 

“The building was huge, and I loved working there,” Diane Braga, a former employee at the building, told the Community Advocate last year. “I worked with wonderful people.” 

Future plans for this location had been uncertain prior to this pitch from developers. 

Developers plan campus

A diagram attached to developers’ site plan filings shows an envisioned four-building campus at 25 Research Drive in Westborough.

According to a project narrative prepared for 25 Research Drive Properties LLC and attached to recent site plans, the developers want to demolish all of the existing buildings and structures on the site.

They then plan to construct a “life sciences, laboratory, good manufacturing practice, office and research and development campus.”

The developers also plan on using 29 Research Drive, which spans about 36 acres near 25 Research Drive. That parcel is currently occupied by Triboro Crane and Rigging Services, according to the narrative. 

“The existing buildings on both lots are outdated and inefficient, making them difficult to attract tenants and talent to this location once the existing tenants vacate,” the narrative said. 

It continued, “The proposed redevelopment will replace the existing antiquated buildings and site improvements with new buildings and materials at today’s standards that will attract quality tenants and talent.” 

The plans call for four buildings, totaling about 715,000 gross square feet. 

Three of the buildings will be approximately 270,000, 235,000 and 200,000 square feet respectively. The fourth building will be about 10,000 square feet to be used as amenity space for tenants. 

“The overall Project may be built in multiple phases to respond to market and other conditions, which may occur in any order and sequentially or simultaneously,” the narrative said. 

As part of the landscape improvements, the developers anticipate adding a walkway connection to the Walkup and Robinson Memorial Reservation trails. 

The reservation is a 63-acre site left to the Sudbury Valley Trustees in 1980 by Lawrence Walkup as a memorial to his parents and family who farmed the land. 

These plans are, collectively, due to come before various Westborough town boards and commissions in the coming months as developers move through a site plan review process.

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