NORTH ANDOVER — Plans for a new senior center in North Andover got a green light Monday at a meeting of the town's Select Board.
"As you know, we've been working for a very long time to get this to where it is today," said Town Manager Melissa Murphy-Rodrigues. "We're hoping to close fairly soon."
To make that closing possible, the board voted to accept a donation of 57,000 square feet of land from Minco Corporation, as Town Meeting had authorized in May 2018.
The land is part of a site at 477 and 505 Sutton St. where the Knights of Columbus operated a building, before closing its doors in 2013. Minco, a North Andover developer, plans to build 136 units on the portion that they didn't donate.
"The previous town manager requested the donation, and the permitting for both of the projects was pretty much done when I got here, and now we've been waiting to get to the point where we could close on the property," Murphy-Rodrigues said.
A sticking point for accepting the donation was the presence of a tenant in a house on that parcel, who could not be removed during the state's eviction moratorium, which has since expired.
"They have now vacated, and we're able to move forward," Murphy-Rodrigues said.
The Select Board also voted Monday to approve the purchase of 1 to 3 Surrey St., at the corner of Sutton and Surrey streets, for $550,000.
"Minco purchased the site from residents for $600,000 and is holding that site for the town to purchase," Murphy-Rodrigues explained at Town Meeting in June 2020, where the purchase was approved. "We had it appraised, which came in at $550,000, and we negotiated to the $550,000 number around the $600,000 that the developer paid."
The Surrey parcel is needed to create all 80 parking spaces called for in plans for the new Senior Center, and also to provide an exit from the property, Murphy-Rodrigues said.
When it is complete, the Senior Center will have 13,500 square feet in a two-story building, replacing the current center's much smaller location behind Town Hall on Main Street.
"We already bid this project last May and have had a contractor in place since then," Murphy-Rodrigues said on Monday. "So we have been pretty much ready to go. As soon we close, we'll be able to get those permits filed."