0 University Drive abuts Newmarket Center
Amherst could get more office space, not that it seems there's pressing demand, if this large 5.8 acre tract of land near UMass on University Drive should sell. Since it is zoned "office park" that kind of narrows down the options for development.
The Planning Board tried to change the zoning a few years back to a more diversified commercial designation but naturally the NIMBYs shot it down at Town Meeting, where a two-thirds vote is hard to muster.
The land is owned by Mohammad Idrees who purchased it for the bargain price of $22,000 back in 2003 at the Lincoln Pulp and Paper Company auction, with the original idea of building a Mosque. Since Amherst is not overly flush with Muslims that plan went by the wayside and he briefly tried selling fresh vegetables.
Mohammad Idrees and his vegetable stand in 2008 (photo by Mary Carey)
The property has been in Ch61A for the past ten years, and much of it is wetlands, so it doesn't pay much of anything in taxes to Amherst ($94.00). But the assessor estimates a $40,000 windfall to the town if it should sell for the $890,000 asking price and put to commercial use.
But these days it seems anytime "open space" goes on the market neighbors simply petition the town to buy it using Other People's Money.