The Milford Daily News ran the following story about the Economic Development Subcommittee's discussion on Wednesday about a proposal to develop the land at 150 Emmons Street. The discussion will be on the agenda of the January 7 Town Council meeting.
Franklin: Developer unwilling to budge on Emmons Street proposal
FRANKLIN – A local developer eyeing the town property on the corner of Emmons Street has objected to the idea of limiting the kind of businesses that could set up shop there.
Roger Calarese, the developer behind the Franklin Village Mall, submitted a proposal to raze the current building at 150 Emmons St. and replace it with a 5,300-square-foot commercial property with a drive-through.
But the Franklin Downtown Partnership, a consortium of local businesses, opposes the prospect of a restaurant and drive-through, such as a coffee shop.
Because of its location at the entrance to the downtown, the property has been the subject of debate. And most of the suggestions for how the town should develop the property have come from downtown business owners, who see it as a "gateway" to the area.
A request for proposals released in September did not restrict the kind of businesses that could open at the property, only that the front of the site be reserved for a statue and green space.
Calarese, who submitted a $500,000 bid by the Dec. 2 deadline, believes he has met the criteria and is unwilling to place further restrictions on potential tenants.
Calarese had been in talks with a bank about the property, but the negotiations fell through.
“It’s very difficult to get out into the marketplace and market a property when you don’t have control over it,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve been quietly talking to people, but it’s been difficult. “
The Town Council’s economic development subcommittee, which met Wednesday with Calarese, has forwarded the developer’s proposal to the full council.
“I think we’ve beaten this property to death,” said Joseph Halligan, a member of the subcommittee. “I say we accept the man’s offer. I think anything that goes there will be better than what’s there now.”
The council will decide at its Jan. 8 meeting whether to accept Calarese’s proposal as is, or add new restrictions on it.
Matt Tota can be reached at 508-634-7521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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