DEVENS, MA-A developer’s plan for a mixed-use development at the former Fort Devens is being put on hold thanks to an appeal filed by Frank Maxant, a selectman in Ayer.

A representative of the Devens Enterprise Commission tells that the commission approved the plan proposed by Robert Walker, which will cost a reported $40 million. The commission is the permitting authority for Devens, which is officially an enterprise zone. The 4,400-sf acre site is the former Fort Devens which served as the US Army’s New England Headquarters for 79 years before it was closed in 1996. With the endorsement of the voters in the host towns of Ayer, Harvard and Shirley, and the approval of the state Legislature and former Governor William F. Weld, the property was conveyed to MassDevelopment, a quasi-public real estate and economic development agency tasked with stimulating economic investment across Massachusetts.

According to Meg Delorier, director of community relations for Devens, Walker’s plan involves 248,000 sf that includes a hotel, a conference center, an office building and retail space.

But the representative of the commission notes that Maxant wants the commission to reconsider the approval by reopening the hearing. She points out that the hearing has the potential to provide Walker with a major setback if the commission upholds the appeal by forcing him to undergo the approval process again. Delorier tells that if Maxant’s appeal is not upheld by the commission he has the option to file with State Superior Court if he chooses.

Delorier explains that under the town’s master plan, Devens is allowed to have 8.5 million sf of commercial development and 282 units of residential development. She says that 5.3 million sf of commercial space has been developed already as well as 102 housing units. A request for proposal was recently issued for the construction of 176 units of housing which Delorier says could be condominiums or multifamily units.

Calls to MassDevelopment for comments on the Walker case were not returned by deadline. The hearing is set to take place this Thursday, July 17.

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