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STONEHAM, MA-After nearly three years of public meetings and numerous revisions the developers of the Stoneham Executive Center have taken the last step in what has proven to be a formidable approval process.

The Gutierrez Co. has filed its final environmental impact report with the state’s executive office of environmental affairs. According to the agency, a decision is due by December 8. “We believe we’re in a position that by mid-December, we’ll be ready to start,” Arthur J. Gutierrez Jr., vice president of Gutierrez Co., tells GlobeSt.com.

Gutierrez acknowledges that that there was some opposition to the project which involves a redevelopment of the former Boston Regional Medical Center. But he notes that because the construction of the development required that the developers wait out the market’s downturn, it “didn’t hurt us too badly.” Gutierrez says the project’s town approval process involved more than 15 public meetings and rezoning of the site for commercial use. Gutierrez points out that at full build out the project will provide the town with $1.5 million to $2 million annually in taxes.

The plan is for the development to consist of 790,000 sf of first class office space. About 250,000 sf will come from a renovation of the hospital building while the remaining 540,000 sf will be developed in three new buildings on the site.

Gutierrez says the project won’t go forward without a tenant. He says that they have been marketing the site for three years but he adds that things have been slow and they have yet to sign a lease. “There are a lot of vacancies out there,” he says. According to Grubb & Ellis’s most recent statistics, the area’s vacancy rate is at about 26.7%, up slightly from 25.5% in the previous quarter.

Those statistics don’t concern Gutierrez. “The site is a great site,” he says. “We need to complete the planning process first. This is a big step.” Gutierrez, who estimates the project will cost $125 million, envisions the site as a corporate campus for either one major tenant or a number of smaller tenants.

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