Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mill District May E-X-P-A-N-D

(red) Trolley Barn left, Atkins North top center Cowls Building Supply foreground

Atkins North and the Trolley Barn could get some company in the near future in that large lot on the south side of Cowls Road behind Cowls Building Supply, currently home to the saw mill that closed in 2009.

Beacon Communities, who purchased Rolling Green Apartments with $1.25 million in town assistance in order to keep it on our Subsidized Housing Inventory, is considering a mixed use, mixed income rental development with commercial space on the ground floor.

Beacon would manage the residential component and W.D. Cowls would maintain control of the commercial space.

The town's Master Plan calls for development exactly like this in Village Centers and the last two housing studies done for the town indicate an across the board shortage of housing -- especially affordable housing.

Since Atkins North opening last year the Mill District has already established itself as a destination spot.

Ye old saw mill will be demolished

The infusion of more potential customers within walking distance of the current amenities can only add to the vibrancy of North Amherst.

Beacon Communities is still in the planning stages and will no doubt do community outreach before any shovels hit the dirt.

Mill District is within easy walking distance of North Amherst center

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the zoning for such a development in place or will it require a change?

Larry Kelley said...

Well the Trolley Barn is a mixed use commercial/residential building, so I would imagine this project would not require a zoning change.

Anonymous said...

Affordable housing units?

Larry Kelley said...

That's kind of what Beacon Communities specializes in.

Anonymous said...

Friendly 40B

Anonymous said...

So all your the sky is falling over affordable housing has evaporated over the last two years.

Larry Kelley said...

Or not.

Anonymous said...

Who owns Beacon Communities? Names please.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting conundrum for the anti-development/pro-affordable housing crowd in North Amherst. I wonder what instinct will prevail.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Yes! Do this!

Larry Kelley said...

Yes it will be interesting to see if they light up the torches and dig out the pitchforks.

Anonymous said...

You had a completely alarmist tone that the marketplace cured with no problem.

Larry Kelley said...

Not even sure what that means.

I've always believed the marketplace works great (with the exception of housing, where it's not so much)

Anonymous said...

Seems like the housing market is working great. Demand has increased so people are building more.

Larry Kelley said...

Demand in Amherst has always been great. It's the lack of supply that's not so great.

But when One East Pleasant and Olympia Place come on line, that will help. And of course UMass building the Honors College dorms helped as well.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a wonderful idea.

Which means the Amherst idiots will block it.

Anonymous said...

Larry, with Olympia and Honors dorms, do you still think the Cushman development was the right move? It's ok either way, but I am curious about your honest view in retrospect. I was for it then, but now I'm kind of glad it didn't proceed.

Anonymous said...

Not sure there's any cause to block it, as it's already zoned mixed-use. As for complaining abutters, Cinda already owns the rental houses on the adjoining street.

Looks like a great project.

Larry Kelley said...

I think it would have had no trouble at all being fully occupied, and would have paid a few hundred thousand in taxes.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, the issue with the retreat is the empty units it would have left elsewhere in town, and who wouldn't be earning money renting them.

Not to mention that college students would be having fun, mustn't permit that...

Bernie Kubiak said...

Highly regarded organization: www.beaconcommunitiesllc.com/

Anonymous said...

ED
Please go to a psychiatrist, therapist, etc.......you do not live in Amherst, hope you do not come around here ...you are just a blow hard you seem to know everything...but do nothing...you have a grudge...please let us know what it is since you are not telling your shrink....stay home and get a life and stay out of our town's business...we have enough idiots in amherst with an outsider.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if Cowls still runs a saw mill? For a town so invested in local, it is nice to have the materials used to build and fix our houses grown and milled locally.

Larry Kelley said...

No they do not.

Anonymous said...


Hmmm Beacon Communities has three board members who belong to Bnai Brith an exclusive jewish organization. Well we know who is going to be populating north Amherst now.

Nina Koch said...

So you put that comment through at 7:07, Larry, and you have nothing to say in response to it?

Larry Kelley said...

Stupid comments speak for themselves. Loudly.

Anonymous said...


Don't shoot the messenger. To promote Jewish unity and continuity is stated in Bnai Briths statement page. So what part of that doesn't pertain to the development goals in north Amherst by Beacon communities?

Anonymous said...

It's not just stupid, and I don't think you allow the posting of obvious hate speech on your blog.

Anonymous said...


Hellooo what part of that is hate speech? These type of responses to valid criticism is really getting old but as a famous song writer once coined "The times they are achanging"

Anonymous said...

"What part of that is hate speech?"

All of it.

Anonymous said...

Larry allows Ed to call people "Penis-Breath." I that ain't hate speech, what is?

Dr. Ed said...

I'm reminded of what Ann Coulter said about the myth of women being paid less than men -- private sector business is driven by profit -- don't make a profit and you aren't in business anymore.ss...

hence, Coulter argues, if women really were paid less than men, companies would have an all-female workforce so as to reduce their labor costs. In a competitive marketplace, anyone who didn't would be driven out of business.

So too here -- Beacon doesn't want to go bankrupt, my guess is they will rent to whomever can pay the rent, and not much care about the tenants faith.

After all, whom do you think Aspen Square is?
And while it involves hotels, you folks do know that the Marriot family are Mormons, don't you?

Folks, not everyone is as bigoted as you are....

GMWIWAIGA

Anonymous said...

Ed, you missed yesterday's headlines on the U.S. women's soccer team. But thanks for saying something that is completely untrue.

Anonymous said...

Ed, since you never state what you want, you can never get it. Then again, you don't really want to go away now do you, as you have no life as it is.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should sue Amherst, women employees on average make 70 cents for every dollar men. http://amherstma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/33498

Anonymous said...

Support Atkins North! Seems to be quite quiet- Hope it is doing okay!

Dr. Ed said...

Seems to me that Amherst taxpayers ought to demand an all-female workforce then...

And GMWIWAIGA....

Anonymous said...

Ed, stick around. You are the dancing monkey that dances to the organ grinder.

Anonymous said...

I think this looks like the type of development many residents in North Amherst want and have asked for. So far, it looks great. Next step…get the details out and inform and work with the neighbors to build a good project, stable, walkable village center and a stronger community. This could be a new era in the Planning Department too, working with and not against neighborhoods.