L.P. Athol Corp. finalizes property sale to marijuana business 

  • The sale of the L.P. Athol property to MassGrow LLC has been completed. Celebrating the transaction were, from left to right are Cindy Hartwell, Frank Perullo (chief operating officer of MassGrow), Phil Purple, Bill Purple (president of L.P. Athol Corp.), Chuck Hartwell, Shaun Suhoski (Athol town manager) and David H Small (chairman of the town’s Board of Planning and Community Development). CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • The sale of the 360,000-square-foot L.P. Athol Corp. facility, viewed here from Main Street in Athol, has been finalized. The former tool manufacturing facility will be redeveloped into a cannabis cultivation facility/campus.  STAFF PHOTO/DEBORRAH PORTER

Staff Writer
Published: 9/14/2018 9:51:49 AM

ATHOL — The Vincent “Bill” Purple/Hartwell families recently inked the sale of their L.P. Athol Corp. property (the former Union Twist Drill building at 134 Chestnut Hill Ave.) to MassGrow LLC, which will redevelop the building complex into a cannabis cultivation facility/campus.

According to the Worcester Business Journal, the 360,000 square-foot-facility sold for $1.15 million.

The former L.P. Athol president, Purple, 94, purchased the building in 1986 and redeveloped it for mixed use. Purple’s son-in-law Chuck Hartwell served as business development director for the property.

The family said, “This could not have happened without the outstanding support of many town officials and the welcoming attitude of the community for this new business.”

The building hosts several tenants, who will be required to relocate.

In mid-July, the Selectboard approved Host Community Agreements (HCA) for two cannabis cultivation and processing businesses: MassGrow at Chestnut Hill Avenue, and 1620 Labs, at 1 Exchange St. (the former Agway building).

At a previous Planning Board hearing, during which a special permit was granted, MassGrow LLC owner Frank Perullo said construction will begin this month. He estimated that $18 million to $20 million will be invested in improvements to the building. Perullo also said roughly 75 jobs will be created in the first eight months of operation, and that number is expected to increase to 150 jobs within 18 months. Of those 75 jobs, 60 will be full-time with full benefits and salaries ranging from $15 to $20 per hour.  

The town said it anticipates incurring additional expenses and impacts on its road system and infrastructure, law enforcement, inspection services, permitting services, legal services, administrative services and public health services. Those impacts may include increased use of town services, increased demand on the town water supply, increased traffic and traffic congestion, increased issues related to public safety and addictive behavior, greater need for youth education and general quality of life.

To ease the financial impact on the town and use of town resources, MassGrow agreed to a one-time payment of $20,000 for costs associated with legal and technical assistance incurred as a result of the project; 1620 Labs will pay $10,000.

In addition, MassGrow will make an annual charitable donation of $30,000 — 1620 Labs’ amount is $15,000 — to a maximum of three charitable, research, educational or community organizations, as they each deem appropriate.

In July, the Selectboard approved the HCA for MassGrow by a vote of 4-1, with William Caldwell, Chairman Stephen Raymond, Lee Chauvette and Holly Young in favor. Rebecca Bialecki voted against the measure. The vote approving the HCA for 1620 Labs was approved by a 3-2 vote, with Caldwell, Chauvette and Young in favor and Bialecki and Raymond against.

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