Published: 3/20/2022 11:49:11 AM
Modified: 3/20/2022 11:48:21 AM
AMHERST — Demolition of vacant commercial properties at the northern end of downtown, to make way for a new mixed-use building, could be imminent following the recent sale of four parcels to an Amherst developer.
Archipelago Investments, LLC, of South Pleasant Street, has acquired, for $5.05 million, 9 East Pleasant, 11-13 East Pleasant and 15 East Pleasant, and an unnumbered North Pleasant Street address, from Laird Summerlin of South Carolina.
The transaction gives the company control of the site, situated between its One East Pleasant mixed-use building and the People’s United Bank at 25 East Pleasant.
Plans were approved by the Planning Board last summer for 11 East Pleasant to rise on the site — a 75,166-square-foot building, with a 15,773-square-foot footprint, featuring 90 apartments, 11 of which will be affordable, and some retail space at the ground level.
Building Commissioner Rob Morra said removal of the buildings could happen soon, though utility disconnections have to occur first. Demolition permits were issued by his office more than two years ago, to allow for the former Pub restaurant building and the Summerlin and Piper buildings, which once had a mix of retail, office and service tenants, to be taken down.
Fences will likely be put up on the perimeter of the site before this site preparation work begins, said Amherst Business Improvement Executive Director Gabrielle Gould.
Gould said that the vacant and derelict lots have become a nuisance, with the BID’s downtown cleaning team often removing nip bottles, needles, garbage and human waste.
Archipelago is also handling other developments in town. At 26 Spring St., it has hired Western Builders of Granby to take over construction of a mixed-use building across from the Inn on Boltwood. The project, 58 apartments in a five-story building and 1,000 square feet of retail space, was suspended in March 2020.
An application for construction of new apartment-style dormitories at 47 Olympia Drive, where a University of Massachusetts sorority house has stood, was submitted this week, according to Planning Director Christine Brestrup. The property, adjacent to the existing Olympia Place student apartments, was bought by Archipelago in 2020.
Scott Merzbach can be reached at email@example.com.