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NEWTON, MA-After months of working to put together financing, the city’s persistence paid off: it had the winning bid in the purchase of Kessler Woods, a 42-acre parcel located in the southeast corner of the city. The site is the largest open piece of property in this area.

Jennifer Goldson, the town’s Community Preservation planner, tells GlobeSt.com that the city is buying the property with Norwood, MA-based developer Cornerstone Corp. for $15.1 million. The plan is to keep half of the property as open space and Cornerstone will develop the other half. The project will involve 62 units of residential housing–with 20% of the units affordable–as well as 11 single family lots.

NStar had issued a request for bids for the site back in February and the city’s Community Preservation Committee decided it wanted to buy the site with funds from the Community Preservation Act, a property tax that each city or town agrees to accept with the funds going to preserve open space or historical sites. Residents voted to accept the Community Preservation Act in the 2002 elections with a 1% surcharge on property taxes.

The city needed more time to put together a proposal and NStar agreed to a four-month extension for bids. Goldson says that the city quickly realized it didn’t have the funds to bid on the property on its own and took on Cornerstone as a partner in the project. “That amount of money would have been a great burden and would have limited the city’s ability to spend on other projects,” notes Goldson.

NStar had a higher bidder than the city’s original bid of $11.3 million with Cornerstone, but that developer couldn’t put together financing when it came to sign an agreement. NStar asked the city for a second bid, but only gave two weeks to put it together. The city was able to put in $5 million and Cornerstone covered the remaining $10.1 million. Goldson says the Community Preservation Committee is going to ask for an extra million above the $5 million to pay back Cornerstone.

Goldson points out that while the Community Preservation Committee has funded about 13 projects since the act was passed in Newton, this is its biggest project and, she adds, “It probably will be for a long while.”

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