WESTBOROUGH – Three proposals, three different concepts for the former Regal Cinemas.
During its Sept. 6 meeting, the Select Board heard presentations on what could be done for the site at 231 Turnpike Road, which has been vacant since 2017.
The town acquired the theater earlier this year by foreclosure, and Town Meeting voted to transfer the property to the Select Board for its disposal this spring.
A business ‘beehive’ at Regal Cinemas site
First up – Ferris Development Group LLC in Southborough. CEO David Ferris envisions a “beehive” where local entrepreneurs can network, store equipment and engage with potential customers.
“We’re taking a stale asset in a sleepy part of town” and repurpose it, said Ferris, whose company has converted several office buildings in the area. This includes a building in Southborough that’s now a data center.
Ferris said the site could accompany 50-100 tenants, from contractors to tradespeople.
“Demand is over the top for this,” he said.
Curtain rises again
LAX Media MA LLC, the parent company of Apple Cinemas, wants to convert the Regal Cinemas site back into an entertainment center.
Company co-founders Jegan Gomangalam and Udayana Kotta said they would like to refurbish “about 70%” of the building. The proposed center would include 12 movie screens with laser projection, reclining seats, an indoor patio and lounge area, a new kitchen and a full bar.
Kotta said that after dealing with the pandemic for the past two years, “we need some place to get out of the house, have a coffee, chat with friends…”
Since opening its first cinema in 2013, the company based in East Walpole has raised the curtain on 12 more cinemas, including Cambridge and Warwick, R.I. They plan to open another six cinemas in the near future.
In addition, the company is proposing EV parking and parking for bicycles.
Pulte proposes 108 condos
Mark Mastroianni of Pulte Homes of New England LLC in Westborough proposed a three-unit complex, with three stories and 36 units each, for a total of 108 condo units.
“We see tremendous opportunity for this site,” he said. “It’s smart growth at its best.”
The plans call for the condos to be all electric, with LED lighting, low-flow fixtures and recycling facilities for each unit.
The condos would be sold as home units. Mastroianni said there would be an option to rent, with a lease requirement of one year.
Mastroianni estimated that there could be 12 additional students. One member of the Select Board questioned that estimate, saying that at projects in other communities, the estimate went three-four times over.
Next steps for Regal Cinemas site
All three projects want to take advantage of amenities currently at or near the site, from local businesses to the Charm Bracelet Trail Systems.
Sustainability was one of the main requirements on the request for proposals, and all three plans call for the installation of solar panels, EV charging stations and other energy-efficient equipment.
Moving forward, the Select Board will review and rate each proposal, then discuss their findings, and award the bid, at either their next meeting or the one afterward. This means the Select Board may make a decision on the former Regal Cinemas property this month.
Watch the entire presentations via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO6nT6JwvNI.