The steel structure for the first building of the future Abington Industrial Park is up, and owner Peter Fiore hopes tenants will start moving this summer.
“We think there’s demand [for space like this],” said Fiore. “Abington doesn’t have anything like this.”
Drivers along Chestnut Street have watched for nearly two years as trees have come down, land has been moved, and utility lines laid in the ground. Fiore said it’s been a labor-intensive process to prepare the site; an effort slowed by underground ridges of ledge and a global pandemic.
“We lost three months [to COVID-19],” he said.
But now, under a bluebird, yet frigid, March sky, workers were busy Monday constructing a 10,800 square foot commercial building capable of holding four 2,700 square foot bays. It’s the first of seven buildings that will eventually be built on the 26-acre site capable of housing businesses ranging from 2,700 to 60,000 square feet. The buildings will be connected by a ring road, and feature office space in the front and bay doors in the back.
“I think they will fill up pretty quickly,” Fiore said.
For decades, 500 Chestnut Street had been a residential property, with a two-story home tucked down a long driveway, surrounded by acres of second-growth forest. The house, which had been owned for many years by Rita Tyrell, had been vacant for a number of years. Located across the street from the northern end of Ames Nowell State Park, the property helped make up one of the town’s largest stretches of privately-owned undisturbed land.
That end of Chestnut Street is part of the town’s Multi-Use Planned Development District, which is designed for large commercial projects, such as office space, trade shops, light manufacturing, computer-based businesses, and some retail and service industry businesses. Multi-family housing, including senior living developments, are allowed with a special permit.
Fiore received approval to build an industrial park that will provide office and storage space for commercial businesses, with tradesmen — landscapers, electricians, and plumbers — and light manufacturing being his target tenants.
He said he has no plans to include high-traffic retail uses, such as a coffee shop, or other chain food establishment. The Planning Board capped the amount of traffic the development can generate at 500 vehicle trips daily when fully built out.
Construction will start soon on the second building, with work progressing as the other buildings fill up.
Fiore owns a similar industrial park off Pleasant Street in Rockland. He also built and owns the commercial properties at 340 and 360 Brockton Avenue, which are currently home to Back Yard Living and an assortment of medical offices, respectively.
Fiore isn’t sure how much the park will add to Abington’s commercial tax base. His Rockland industrial park, which includes six buildings on 18.6 acres, has a combined assessed value of $4.26 million, according to that town’s tax records. In Abington, a property assessed at that value would generate about $70,000 in property taxes annually; however, the Abington park will contain larger buildings on more land than the Rockland development.
DISCLOSURE: The author of this article is a member of the Abington Planning Board.