The corner of South Main and Wall streets could soon be the site of a mixed-use development that local leaders say will be a major part of the revitalization of the city's downtown. The Attleboro Redevelopment Authority and Mansfield-based Crunagle Properties finalized an agreement last week for the development of a six-story building featuring condos and commercial space.
Construction of the $6.8 million development could begin in July. The preliminary plans call for underground parking, 6,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and up to 80 condo units on the remaining floors, with at least five units designated as affordable housing.
ARA board Chair Judy Robbins and Mayor Kevin Dumas announced the agreement to an enthusiastic City Council on Tuesday. Robbins said Crunagle would purchase the ARA-owned property for $1.024 million, with $494,000 coming from a federal housing grant via the city. Two-thirds of that money would be transferred from the ARA to the city as part of its promise to return money the municipality had paid to cover the agency's legal defeats.
"We are delighted that we are going to be able to start paying of this debt, and we hope that we will do many other things to pay off the debt in the next couple of years," Robbins told the council.
The project deal is called a "land disposition agreement." Among its features, Robbins said, is a requirement for Crunagle to construct the building based on Attleboro's urban renewal plan.
"We are getting the kind of building that I think the people who put together this urban renewal plan thought about, the kind they hoped for, the kind that it looked like maybe we wouldn't get along the way, but we are very, very pleased," she said.
Robbins said Crunagle will spend the next four to six months finalizing the architectural plans. The developer will need to obtain permits from various city entities, including the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board.
She said a closing on the purchase will likely take place in June. The property is contaminated, so there are environmental issues, including the need for an "activity and use limitation" statement that Robbins said would probably include a prohibition on growing vegetables and children digging dirt, among other features.
Dumas called the project "the first step in the recovery" of the ARA. It is an agency that has been plagued by various setbacks, including lawsuits and near-bankruptcy. One year ago, this property was nearly forced into the hands of a court-appointed receiver.
City Councilor Richard Conti, who has been one of the ARA's toughest critics, said he was pleased with the news.
"This truly is a robust effort during this economy," he said. "It's a remarkable Phoenix rising out of the ashes, proverbially, and I think in this case the ARA is executing a plan that is exactly what it was intended to do."