EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 10, 2013

One of last farms in Andover may soon be up for sale

ANDOVER — One of the last remaining farms in town has gone fallow and is now ripe for development.

Strawberry Hill Farm, located at 254 Lowell St., for years had been a popular farm stand as people from around the region flocked there for fresh produce.

But over the winter, longtime farmer Peter Loosigian died. His son, also Peter, has decided not to pick up where his father left off.

Now, the 10 acres of rolling farm land may soon be up for sale, and what used to be 10 acres of prime farm land is now 10 acres of prime real estate.

If it does go on the open market, it could be sold to a developer, who would try to get the most out of the property by turning it into a single-family home development, say local officials and real estate experts.

The zoning in the area allows 30,000-square-foot lots, which could allow for 10 to 15 houses on the land, depending on the layout of the road or roads through the property.

“If a private developer acquires the asset, they would look to maximize its value, with single-family homes or another residential project,” Town Planner Paul Materazzo said.

One variation could be building a cluster development, which allows a developer to increase the number of units by siting them in a grouping or attaching them — like townhouses — to leave more of the property as open space.

“Developers’ eyes must be popping out of their heads,” Materazzo said. “It’s fairly flat land. It has sewer and water. You don’t have to clear trees. And they’re not making any more land in Andover. ... There might be a premium on this property.”

Nearby, homes have been selling for anywhere from $400,000 to $800,000. A 10-lot development of $800,000 homes would put the property’s worth at around $8 million.

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