More than a year after it was selected to develop a town-owned property on Belmont Hill, a conglomerate of local businessmen will finally close on a deal to purchase the property and build three or four luxury homes on the site.
The 5.4 acre Woodfall Road parcel, a long-abandoned residential lot currently home to road material and overgrowth, “will be purchased by the end of the year,” said Andy Rojas, chair of the Belmont Board of Selectmen, at a meeting of the Warrant Committee on Wednesday, Dec. 17.
The winning bidder Belmont Advisors – made up of partners Greensbrook Development, Line Company Architects and Phoenix Construction Group – will pay the town a purchase price of “between $1.8 to $1.7 million” to build luxury housing on the land, said Rojas.
When it was selected by the Selectmen in Nov. 2013 as the future developer of the site, it’s bid was $2.2 million. The other bidder, Northland Residential Corporation, which developed the residential portion of the McLean Property in Belmont, offered $750,000.
The deed transfer and final sales price were affected by a series of delays that included financing issues and drawn out concern with the abutting property owner, the Belmont Country Club. Apparently, the proposed housing was in the flight path of golf balls launched by members on the pitching and practice course. There is likely to be fencing on the property line.
The drawn-out purchase process would have a significant impact on the financing of the Belmont Center road reconstruction project. Early in 2014, town officials predicted the sale of the Woodfall Road site at nearly $2 million and the $850,000 for the municipal parking lot in Cushing Square to the current developer of the Cushing Village, Smith Legacy Limited, would fund the $2.8 million road and parking project.
When the two sales did not materialize, the town was forced to use a portion of its “free cash” reserves and call a special Town Meeting in November to secure the remaining funds to complete the project by the fall of 2015.
The proceeds from the sale, deemed “one-time” revenue receipt, will not be heading to the town’s general fund. In the past, such “one-time” monies have been directed to the Capital Budget Committee, which pays for long-term, large budget items such as public safety vehicles and repairs and upgrades to municipal buildings.
The sale for the parcel – known as 108 Woodfall Road – will bring to an end nearly a decade of attempts to sell the property that the town acquired through a foreclosure in 1938. The town thought it had sold the land to a private developer in 2006, but he never came up with the money.
In June 2012, the town’s Office of Community Development proposed a plan that would allow an Atlanta-based for-profit hospice firm to build a small residential building for end-of-life care for Belmont residents and others. But the opposition from homeowners in the upscale neighborhood drove the Selectmen’s decision to withdraw the proposed plan and restricted it to only residential construction.