WORCESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL - Major Route 20 site can be had - for any price
By Grant Welker
A 56-acre property
that's sat unutilized on Route 20 in Auburn despite high visibility from the
Massachusetts Turnpike is now headed to auction.
It can be bought for
The site at 190
Washington St. is owned by Dartmouth College but has been on the market for
years. The New Hampshire school's trustees were given the site in 1984 for
$100, but a spokeswoman said Dartmouth is now unloading the property as part of
changes to its real estate portfolio.
The property has sat
unused since then, but Auburn and regional planning officials have long seen
the site as having major potential for that stretch of Route 20.
Auburn's master plan
identifies the property as having potential for mixed-use development. The town
administration would like to see a mixed-use development, or an office park
and/or commercial development, said Julie Jacobson, the Auburn town manager.
Some uses would require special permits or zoning variances, she said.
The site is zoned
for industrial use, with access to municipal water and sewer connections, and
construction possible on roughly 37 of its 56 acres. It stands in an area of
Route 20 near Lundgren Honda of Auburn, a series of self-storage facilities,
and Westec Drive, a small cluster of industrial buildings where the utility company
Eversource bought three parcels for just over $9 million in a deal closed Sept.
A 2013 report by the
Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission called the site a priority
development area, with potential for new growth making it worthy of thoughtful
consideration for potential uses. Auburn's master plan specifically ruled out
residential or retail uses without a special permit or zoning variance, wanting
to reduce retail activity and traffic, and create higher-paying jobs in town,
the planning report said.
The site was last
assessed by Auburn at $1.1 million. JJ Manning, the auctioneers selling the
property, said a real estate appraisal in 2016 put the value at $1.7 million.
The auction is scheduled to take place Oct. 10, with no minimum sale price set
for a buyer.