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PLYMOUTH, MA-The Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation Inc. is thinking big when it comes to commercial development in the area. The group, a public-private partnership, is eyeing 1,000 acres of town-owned land on Route 25 for a huge industrial park.

The property is currently vacant, wooded land. But if the foundation, an agency that is part of the town government but encompasses most of its neighboring communities, has its way, it will be developed into a commerce park that will serve, says the group, “as the main economic engine for the continued development of Plymouth’s economic base.”

Denis Hanks, director of the foundation, tells GlobeSt.com that the North Plymouth industrial park, the city’s only large industrial park, is down to its last 12 acres. He notes that Plymouth is the largest community in the state and is growing at a rate of 2,500 people annually.

According to Hanks, his group recently met with the city’s selectmen who gave their support to the proposal, which, at full build out, would have an assessed value of approximately $488 million and generate over $6 million in taxes. The proposal involves light industrial and office space as well as possibly some retail space and at this point involves no residential component.

Hanks acknowledges that local environmentalists have expressed their concern especially regarding the species that use the site as their habitat but Hanks emphasizes that his group plans to abide by the state’s environmental process. He points out that some of the property is wetlands but believes that at least 700 of the acres are developable. According to the Plymouth Master Plan by RKG Associates, “although priority habitat of rare species covers most of the site, this designation may not stop development, but most certainly restricts development.”

The foundation is now in the process of completing a feasibility study. The property is currently zoned residential and would need town meeting approval for a zoning change. Hanks notes that the project would also require a new interchange which would necessitate state and federal funding. Potential costs of the proposed interchange as well as road improvements would cost about $19 million while sewer and water infrastructure costs would run about $7 million. Hanks adds that plans are to sell off each of the parcels to private developers for development. He points out that because Plymouth is in an economic target area developers get tax incentives for development in the area.Hanks says that his group is also looking to develop 200 acres of town-owned land near the Plymouth Municipal Airport into an industrial park. The projects would join nearly two million sf of retail development that is currently under construction in the area. These include the Shops at Long Pond, a 490,000-sf shopping center being built by New England Development and Colony Place, a 865,000-sf retail developed being built by Saxon Park.

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