Cinda Jones, W.D. Cowls, Inc President testifies before Historical Commission 7/22
Leaving aside for the moment the dramatic difference in age, gender and, well, overall looks (especially hair), will The Retreat -- after it finally happens -- make Cinda Jones the "Donald Trump of Amherst?"
Cinda Jones is the President of W.D. Cowls, Inc, admittedly the largest private landowner the entire state of Massachusetts -- but most of it undeveloped woodlands. The Cowls family kind of put the C in Conservation.
Her company has a purchase and sale agreement with Landmark Properties for $6.5 million to acquire 140+ acres in northeast Amherst, a small piece of their overall holdings.
Yes, if Landmark is successfully stopped by a swarm of angry NIMBYs chances are all but guaranteed the $6.5 million deal goes away.
But if The Retreat is built, it will have nothing to do with Cinda Jones. Landmark, or one of their subsidiaries, will do the actual development (using local goods and labor when possible).
Yes, she -- or I should say her company -- is indeed a, gasp, developer: The Mill District is an ambitious project that happens to include land the Cowls company already owns and wishes to recycle.
Ironically some of the same folks who packed the Town Room Wednesday night for the Planning Board hearing on The Retreat were also instrumental in the Historical Commission ordering a one year demolition delay on the Cowls barn at 134 Montague Road, at the gateway to the proposed "Mill District."
Resolving the "historic" barn issue is going to be an expensive proposition, and without that $6.5 million from The Retreat property, harder still.
Nancy Gittleman at Planning Board hearing 7/30
Interestingly Ms. Gittleman posts her property on the UMass Off Campus Housing and Community web page but told the Planning Board, "I don't rent to anybody under 30."
North Amherst rental property (don't apply if under age 30)