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ULI Boston, MHP help Brockton brainstorm about for-sale state site

Posted on September 24, 2019

BROCKTON --- Urban Land Institute Boston/New England recently partnered with the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) and the City of Brockton to convene a technical assistance panel to help formulate potential development options for an unused state property at Massasoit Community College.

The intensive one-day event is part of ULI Boston/New England's Technical Assistant Program (TAP), which each year brings development experts into selected communities to listen, learn and assist communities in finding solutions to challenging land use and economic development issues. ULI Boston/New England's District Council  has over 1,400 members and is one of the largest ULI district councils in the nation.

 A participant in past years, MHP is also providing ULI Boston/New England with a $25,000 grant this year to support TAP panels in three communities. Brockton was the first community visited in 2019.

“The goal of a TAP is not to tell a community what to do, but rather provide it with informed recommendations and strategies,” said Susan Connelly, who is MHP’s director of community assistance and strategic partnerships and also a member of the ULI Boston's Real Estate Advisory Committee.

The focus of the Brockton TAP visit on Sept. 10 is an unused Massasoit Community College event space that the state would like to sell to help fund the construction of a new lab for the college’s growing nursing program. The property is located about two miles east of Brockton’s downtown on the corner of Crescent Street (Route 27) and Quincy Street. Massasoit closed the conference center in 2018. The state also owns a neighboring property, the site of the former Christo's Restaurant.

The City of Brockton and its planning department have been interested in exploring how the site could be used and applied for a ULI Boston TAP. MHP’s Connelly and Scott Pollack of Arrowstreet design and architecture chaired the TAP panel. Other panelists included Spencer Grassie of the real estate firm Madison Marquette, Ben Weissbourd, real estate developer and project manager at Harvard University and Chris Johns of ThoughtCraft Architects.

Participants in the day’s tour and discussions included state Sen. Michael Brady, state Rep. Michelle DuBois, Anne Beauregard and Susan Nicastro of the Brockton City Council, Brockton Redevelopment Authority Director Robert Jenkins and Brockton Director of Planning and Economic Development Rob May. 

Also participating were Bill Mitchell of Massasoit Community College, Chris Cooney of the Metro South Chamber of Commerce, ULI Boston’s Sara Marsh, MHP’s Katie Bosse, owners of adjacent properties and Abigail Vladeck, senior project manager for the state Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, which oversees the development, maintenance and disposition of state properties.

The day’s events included a tour of the site and discussions with all stakeholders in the morning, followed by a design charrette and a final presentation in the afternoon. The discussion, charrette and presentation phases were held at the Metro South Chamber of Commerce. The final step will be a written report by the ULI TAP panel, which will be delivered to the city in the next 12 weeks. 

The one-day TAP program was developed through ULI's national Advisory Services Program. Nationally or through its district councils, ULI brings a team of experts in to take a comprehensive look at a potential development initiative and formulate realistic options to move a project forward. 

“ULI’s Advisory Services offers communities with challenging land use issues the opportunity to work with real estate experts from a variety of industry disciplines and experiences to develop a range of solutions that can implemented in the near- and long-term," said Michelle Landers, executive director of ULI Boston/New England. "Our members volunteer their time to learn about these issues from municipal officials, stakeholders, and then collaborate on recommendations to help the community achieve its goals.”

For more information about the Brockton TAP or MHP’s other community assistance services, email MHP”s Katie Bosse at kbosse@mhp.net.