- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3 Million for Redevelopment of Belchertown State School Property
Michelle Hillman, Director of Communications
Belchertown MA — October 12, 2017 – Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined local officials and community leaders to award $3 million in MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant funding to MassDevelopment for the Belchertown State School redevelopment project. Infrastructure and road investments will unlock 37 acres of the 90-acre site for development, $50 million in private investment, support for an area school and up to 268 new housing units.
“Our administration is committed to programs like MassWorks that help cities and towns invest in the infrastructure needs that improve public safety and unlock opportunities for private investment, housing and new jobs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “In Belchertown, infrastructure improvements will support a local school and make dozens of acres available for hundreds of new housing units and local economic growth. We continue to work closely with all our local partners to advance important projects like this one that drive development and prosperity in our communities.”
“MassWorks reflects our administration’s support for flexible funding that also leverages local and private resources to meet the economic development needs of Massachusetts’ cities and towns,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud to have increased funding and secured reauthorization for this critical program that has supported thousands of new housing units, industrial expansion and new mixed-use development space across every region of the Commonwealth.”
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program makes grants to municipalities for public infrastructure projects that generate additional private sector investment. MassDevelopment, in partnership with the Town of Belchertown and the Belchertown Economic Development Industrial Corporation, is undertaking the redevelopment of over 90 acres of the former Belchertown State School, which closed in 1992. The Belchertown mixed-use development leverages $1.25 million in local contributions and additional state funding.
The MassWorks investment will allow for the construction of a 2,000 foot road and associated utilities to provide direct access to 25 acres of land, and improve marketability of an additional 12 acres. This roadway will unlock new parcels for development, and enable construction of over 250 units of senior living, live-work and multi-family housing, representing $50 million in private investment. Additionally, improvements will provide sewer service for two parcels, including the proposed site of the future Belchertown Day School, and support the adaptive reuse of the historic administration building.
Currently, an 83-unit assisted living facility is also under construction, and MassDevelopment is actively demolishing buildings to prepare the site for future development opportunities.
“The effectiveness of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program and the reason that it has been successful at unlocking development is the program’s ability to support projects across a wide range of sizes and scope,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Each year we fund high-quality, shovel-ready projects, and this year is no exception. I congratulate the cities and towns for pursuing projects that strengthen communities and promote sustainable economic growth and development across the Commonwealth.”
“We’re grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for awarding this MassWorks grant to support Carriage Grove in Belchertown,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “This investment will pave the way for the community’s mixed-use neighborhood vision for the former Belchertown State School, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners on the exciting developments ahead.”
“This project represents a giant step forward for Belchertown, as the state works with local officials to redevelop the vacant Belchertown State School site,” said Senator Eric Lesser. “This new construction will provide local job opportunities, expand residential housing options, and ultimately find a purpose for 25 acres of land that can be put to good use. The scale and potential for the Belchertown State School property makes this project among the most transformative and exciting developments happening in all of Western Massachusetts.”
“Today’s announcement of the $3 million Mass Works Grant allowing the construction of the 2000ft road will continue to make The Old Belchertown School Site one of the most marketable mixed use developments in all of Massachusetts,” said Representative Thomas M. Petrolati. “This will continue to diversify Belchertown’s tax base with the emphasis on job growth.”
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support housing production, economic development, and job creation. Since 2015, and including this year’s awards, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded over $274 million to 134 projects in 106 communities throughout the Commonwealth, spurring the development of over 2 million square feet of commercial and retail space, over 7,000 immediate housing units, at least 7,000 square feet of new public space and 1,200 new hotel rooms and commercial/retail space.
In August 2016, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H.4569) to reauthorize MassWorks and support $500 million of future investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth.