July 28--BEVERLY -- A 76-acre swath of land off Route 128 at Folly Hill could be developed, potentially adding nearly 700 apartments and condos to the city's housing stock.
The land, a wooded area valued at about $3.7 million, according to city assessors records, runs along Trask Lane, meeting up with the Beverly Golf & Tennis Club on one end and also abuts neighborhoods on Walcott Road, Friend Street and Sunset Drive. It also meets the Danvers town line.
Two existing residential complexes -- The Folly Hill Meadows Apartments and Apple Village -- would also be close by any new development there.
Dubbed "The Residences at Folly Hill," owner Abbott Reeve hired CBRE/New England Capital Markets Team to market the land.
No selling price was put on the land; the property could be sold in its entirety or in pieces, according to a brochure from CBRE.
While much of the land is not buildable, according to a map in the brochure, the property could accommodate 634 "garden-style" units and 51 townhouses. The land is currently zoned for residential use.
Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Cahill and city officials are looking at ways to make sure a residential development of this scale doesn't happen.
"While there are private property development rights involved here, we believe over-development on this site would not be in the best interests of the people of Beverly, so we are exploring the city's options," Cahill said.
Aaron Clausen, the city's planning and community development director, said his team is assessing what impact such a large development could have on the city, including the area neighborhoods.
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"I'm not aware of any developers (actively) looking at the site," he said. "We haven't really had any in-depth conversations."
The Reeve family has owned the land for a while, Clausen said. In terms of motivation to sell now, he noted the current market is conducive for this type of sale.
Reeve did not return a request for comment by the deadline for this edition.
The brochure on the property indicates, however, that tours are planned in the future and the company will be soliciting offers.
It touts Beverly's many assets -- including major employers such as the Cummings Center, entertainment and restaurants -- as some of the reasons building at Folly Hill is advantageous.
City Council President Paul Guanci said he originally heard of the idea from a concerned resident a few weeks ago, and has since learned more about it.
"I wouldn't be a fan of anything back there," Guanci said, adding that development could put a strain on city schools and infrastructure. Plus, he said, it would add more traffic. "The impact on the neighborhoods would be ridiculous."
Arianna MacNeill can be reached at 978-338-2527 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SN_AMacNeill.
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