Industrial building proposed for former Pointe at Hills Farm site in Shrewsbury

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Industrial building proposed for former Pointe at Hills Farm site in Shrewsbury
Cars pass the site of a proposed industrial building along Route 20. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

SHREWSBURY – A 134,000-square-foot industrial building may be coming to Route 20 in Shrewsbury, pending approval from town boards and commissions.

Project engineer Gene Sullivan told the Conservation Commission on June 21 that it would most likely be a warehouse, though there could be light manufacturing at the site.

“Our anticipated market is that it would be more of a warehouse, distribution user,” Sullivan said.

Site spans 10.5 acres

The application was filed by Shrewsbury Land Property Owner, LLC, which is based in Boston.

The site, located at 440 Hartford Turnpike, spans 10.5 acres on the corner of Stoney Hill Road and Hartford Turnpike.

It’s being constructed as a speculative building, which typically means that the developers work to attract tenants either during or after their construction process.

Sullivan noted that they are proposing a right turn in and out of the site onto Route 20.

There would be 28 loading dock doors on the front of the building facing the road. Sullivan noted that his team had already received a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to position the loading docks in that way, noting that the building would help block out noise for homes on nearby Stoney Hill Road and Thistle Hill Drive.

“We just thought that was a better orientation versus having the loading operations facing the neighborhood behind us,” Sullivan said.

Site previously part of The Pointe at Hills Farm plan

The land was previously permitted as part of a 40B project called The Pointe at Hills Farm.

Back in 2015, Smart Growth Design LLC applied for a comprehensive permit for that project. The plans would have located 280 apartment units on two noncontiguous sites at 440 Hartford Turnpike and 526 Hartford Turnpike, roughly a quarter mile to the east along Route 20.

According to the ZBA’s 2016 decision, Smart Growth Design LLC later reduced the number of units to 248. Phase one of the project then specifically would have focused on building 156 units at 440 Hartford Turnpike.

At the time, the Board of Selectmen did not support the project as part of a request for a Local Initiative Program application with the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

Community Advocate reporting in 2016 further noted that opponents asked the state to reject the project, saying it was too large, disruptive and wrong for the area.

Ultimately, the ZBA granted the comprehensive permit in late 2016. A couple of years later, the ZBA granted an extension of the term of the comprehensive permit decision.

However, in 2021, the ZBA received an application to modify the comprehensive permit, which reduced the scale, scope and number of units for the project.

According to the ZBA’s 2021 decision, the owner had sold 440 Hartford Turnpike and proposed to develop “phase two” of The Pointe at Hills Farm at 526 Hartford Turnpike.

The ZBA approved this modification in October of last year. In December, the developers were back before the board yet again to seek more changes – one of which was an increase in the number of units from 92 to 93.

Next steps

The public hearing before the Conservation Commission for the 440 Hartford Turnpike industrial building was continued until July 19. The project will also go before the Planning Board later this month.

Related Content:

Selectmen again reject 40B plans for The Pointe at Hills Farms