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SOUTH WEYMOUTH, MA-Lennar Partners, a unit of Lennar Property Corp., has signed a letter of intent to be master developer of the 1,450-acre former Naval Air Station. The Irvine, CA-based company gave $500,000 in good faith funds to the South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation, the state agency responsible for developing the base, as part of the deal.

John W. Rogers, the corporation’s chairman, emphasizes that the while the Letter of Intent only starts the negotiation process, “the Board is committed to moving the process forward, and to providing opportunities for members of the Lennar team to meet with our Board, staff and consultants, community leaders, and members of the community at large.”

Kenneth Goff, executive director of the corporation, also stresses that both his group and Lennar want to wrap up the negotiations as quickly as possible. “We expect to move forward quickly with a mutually agreed work plan and schedule related to master planning, permitting, and contract scope with MassHighway and the Federal Highway Administration,” he notes.

The agreement with Lennar is significant, as the corporation has been looking for a master developer with whom to create a public/private partnership for nearly two years, ever since a plan by the VA-based Mills Corp. to develop a huge mall on a 155-acre parcel on the site was dropped because of fierce local opposition. The $250 million mall was to have been the centerpiece of the property.

The development of the former station, one of the largest parcels of land in the area with development potential, will now be done in stages over a 10-year period, and involves 700 units of senior housing, 3.5 million sf of office and retail space, recreation facilities, hotels, a conference center and an 18-hole golf course. Hundreds of acres will be left as open space. The first stage of the development phase includes construction of up to 300,000 sf of office space and up to 300 units of senior housing on the base’s northwest quadrant.

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