Freedom Street property added to rehab list

  • Athol Planning and Development Director Eric Smith and Anne Reitmayer of NuVue Communities discuss plans for the rehab of a property at 204 Freedom Street during Tuesday’s meeting of the Selectboard. Looking on are, fromleft, board member Stephen Raymond, Chair Rebecca Bialecki, and members Lee Chauvette and Holly Young.  —Greg Vine

  • Anne Reitmayer of NuVue Communities and Athol Planning and Development Director Eric Smith discuss plans for the rehab of a property at 204 Freedom St., in Athol, during Tuesday’s meeting of the Selectboard. Greg Vine

  • This property at 204 Freedom St., Athol, is slated for rehabilitation. The building has been vacant for six years. Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 7/17/2019 9:50:21 PM

ATHOL – Planning and Development Director Eric Smith and Anne Reitmayer of Fitchburg-based NuVue Communities appeared before the Selectboard Tuesday night to request that 204 Freedom St. be added to the list of properties in Athol that NuVue will be allowed to rehab.

Smith said NuVue had worked with several town officials and agencies to identify properties that would be suitable for redevelopment.

“Under a new program called Liabilities to Assets,” said Smith, “we actually ended up getting 17 properties onto the list. Then NuVue found the property and 204 Freedom Street. The Planning Board met last week and, after a public notice process, we didn’t get any comments from any of the abutters in the area. One Planning Board member lives nearby and he was happy to see something happening to this property. So, the Planning Board voted support for this project. We just need the selectmen’s action. I’m preparing a report right now that will go into the state, and hopefully they’ll approve this project as well.”

“The reason we wanted to move to add this property to the Liabilities to Assets list,” said Reitmayer, “was that we were approached. This property is in receivership, as of two weeks go, I think. NuVue Communities, which is the parent organization of NuVue Liabilities to Assets, Inc., was appointed as receiver of this property.”

“The property, as the result of the first receiver’s action,” Reitmayer explained, “was pretty much stripped down to the studs. There’s no plumbing. There’s no electrical system at this point. Basically, it’s the shell of the property which, structurally, is in pretty good shape. But it’s pretty much a gut.”

Reitmeyer said that, with the receivership, came the balance of a grant that was committed to the rehab project by the Attorney General’s office.

“It’s not a lot of money,” she said, “but it is still a significant addition to what NuVue Liabilities to Assets will be able to bill the state as part of the reimbursement for the renovation of this property, which we estimate will probably be at least $300,000 for hard-cost construction, not including soft cost – things like lawyers, architects, permits, that kind of thing.”

“So, it seemed like pursuing 204 Freedom St. and adding it to the Liabilities to Assets list made a lot sense, because we were using the AG’s money in a way to leverage further what has been committed from the state.”

Reitmeyer noted NuVue had been notified earlier Tuesday that the state had committed $7.5 million to rehab properties in Athol, Gardner, Fitchburg, Leominster, and Clinton.

“This is property that’s been vacant since 2013,” said Reitmayer, referring to 204 Freedom St. “It would be great for the neighbor to get it back. It’s a great little property. It will be become a great little home for a first-time homebuyer.”

Reitmayer told the ADN that the building, when finished, will be a single family home with four bedrooms and one and a-half baths.

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