Mixed use block (retail on ground, housing above) owned by Dartmouth College in Hanover NH town center
While most--if not all--of the immediate neighbors may view it as "Sherman's March to the Sea" the Amherst Redevelopment Authority met again last night to continue plowing forward with the Gateway Project, a spiffy economic joint undertaking connecting the north end of Amherst town center with the heart of our flagship's campus. Yeah, that would be UMass/Amherst.
Interestingly, outspoken critic and of course next door neighbor John Fox wondered if Umass was really "invested" in the project. Well... they are giving away property that cost them $2.5 million only four years ago. I would call that invested.
And it would certainly not be unreasonable of them to, you know, make a condition or two regarding terms for the exchange--as in more housing for students, who are coming. With or without the Gateway Project.
But with this project they can avoid living in slums that have sprouted like weeds in neighborhoods all around town over the past 40 years to prey on those incoming nubies.
And with this project the town has tremendous control over the look and feel of the entire development. For the first time in my aged memory Umass wants to partner with the town (via the Amherst Redevelopment Authority) on an equal basis. They are the proverbial 1000 pound gorilla and they could do whatever they damn well please with the former Frat Row.
Our recent road trip to Hanover NH, where Dartmouth College stepped up as an Angel Investor in the downtown proves it can work. And it only takes one white crow to disprove the theory all crows are black.
Before and after photos of how it worked in Hanover NH
ARA and Select Board member Aaron Hayden reports
Request for proposals on Gateway Project, about to go out to the private sector