EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 24, 2013

Port's first 'urban farm' to break ground soon


Hall said that this proposed development would offer a short walk to the city, access to the nearby Bartlet Mall and proximity to the commuter rail operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

Because the terrain is characterized by a significant incline on one side, some of the “cluster” buildings could be built into the earth to minimize the area that would be exposed to the cold.

“Urban farming” opportunities would be offered, including greenhouses for those who want to start their growing in the winter.

The acreage is an R-3 zone, which encourages multiple units.

The developer declined to predict how many dwellings will be built but said there “could” be three clusters and there “could” be eight units in a cluster. Designers will stress open space.

Units will be leased, not sold.

About 20 percent will be earmarked for “affordable” housing, said Hall, a University of New Hampshire graduate who majored in zoology.

Those that are available on the open market might be leased for about $2,000 per month.

“That figure is based on the likelihood that occupants will have little or no utility costs,” said Hall, one of the largest land owners in the city with 100 residential units and about 80,000 square feet of commercial space in firm portfolio.

Hall indicated that he will be engaged in the permitting process this winter, and under optimum conditions, construction could start in the spring.

He said that he has studied numerous green developments, including some in Iceland, and said his team in committed to offering residences that are sustainable in a part of the city where people can walk to the downtown, utilize public transportation and farm on shared property.

The Hall and Moskow development would be the second project near Route 1 to be made public in recent weeks.

MINCO Development Corp. of North Andover and Newburyport won a bid to construct 67 apartments on land owned by the MBTA near the Route 1 rotary and the train station.

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