NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Cumberland Farm is offering $575,000 for the City Yard on Ashland Street.
The regional chain of convenience stores has long been rumored to be interested in the one-acre site. It began renovating and constructing larger centers with more amenities several years ago, including new buildings in Williamstown and at Hodges Cross Road and on Union Street.
The Westborough company's downtown location on Ashland Street, however, is landlocked by streets on two sides and residential properties on the other sides. The chain has wanted to expand that operation but has been limited by the amount of land it needs for a larger building and more than the four gas pumps is currently has.
The Department of Public Works site was valued at $475,000 by appraisers earlier this year when it was brought forward with four other properties Mayor Richard Alcombright requested to put up for sale. The DPW is currently moving into the former anodizing plant at Hodges Cross Road purchased last year.
The more than century-old complex is two sites — 227 and 245 Ashland — and includes four buildings of varying condition. The location, however, is in a developing area of the city that's seen growth over the past few years, including renovations of residential and commercial buildings, new sidewalks, and the construction of a new $3 million facilities building for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The site is zoned for industrial.
A new Cumberland Farms would be located directly across the street from Xtra Mart, another chain of convenience stores.
In his communication to the City Council, the mayor wrote that the purchase-and-sale agreement comes after "many weeks of discussion and negotiation."
The agreement states the city will share 50 percent of any cleanup costs up to $287,500, or half the purchase price. Upon signing the purchase-and-sale agreement, Cumberland Farms will begin testing at the site with the caveat that it can elect whether to proceed with the transaction based on the findings of an environmental report. The costs incurred for the testing are entirely on Cumberland Farms.
"Cumberland Farms has been a strong partner in the community, building two new stores on Route 2 and Route 8. For quite some time, 'Cumby's' has been interested in a new and more appropriately sized store in the Ashland Street corridor," the mayor writes.
The City Yard is the third of the six properties put up for sale earlier this year that has elicited interested buyers. The Windsor Mill was sold in July to Simeon Bruner of Cambridge Development Corp., principal of Bruner/Cott Architects, for $465,000 with the pledge to invest a minimum of $400,000 on facade and capital improvements within the next three years.
A $50,000 bid for the 2.55-acre salt shed property farther south on Ashland Street was rejected by the council in August as being too low compared to its $125,000 appraisal.
Also up for sale is the Notre Dame complex of church and school on East Main Street and Sullivan School on Kemp Avenue.
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