ULI Boston conducts study on downtown North Brookfield

BOSTON – The Boston / New England District Council of the Urban Land Institute announced the completion of its Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) of the historic North Brookfield Town House and Downtown District Building in North Brookfield, MA.

The six-person panel of land use and development professionals visited the area and provided recommendations for positioning the townhouse as well as proposals for the redevelopment and revitalization of the town center to attract members of the community, visitors and investors. The panel took place June 4-7 and was sponsored by MassDevelopment and the City of North Brookfield.

Upgrading the townhouse and downtown neighborhood of North Brookfield has been a topic of conversation for many years. During its first hundred years, the historically significant townhouse was the center of community life until it closed in 2002. In 2006, the Friends of the Townhouse (FOTH) was formed with the mission of restoring and renovating the building. In 2007, a community master plan was completed and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) was hired to provide technical assistance. Since 2007, the city has continued to establish committees to strengthen economic development and meet the needs of the community of North Brookfield.

In 2018, FOTH met with the Selectmen Board of Directors, the Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF), the CMRPC and the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (QVCDC) to discuss economic development in North Brookfield, with the Townhouse as a focal point. As a result, FOTH were encouraged to create the Downtown Development Committee (DCC). Since then, SDC and FOTH have developed strategic plans for the Downtown District and Town House, respectively. ULI Boston / New England has been invited to participate in the strategic planning process and provide recommendations on how best to move the renovation and redevelopment process forward.

“The Townhouse and Downtown are two areas of our community that have significant potential to once again become North Brookfield’s hub for residents and city officials, as well as to attract new retail tenants, investors and visitors, ”said a spokesperson for the city. “Given ULI’s successful track record with its technical support panels, we asked for their help in giving new life to our small town by offering recommendations on how best to move forward with the redevelopment of our townhouse and downtown. “

In June, panelists received information from the city regarding the study area, including zoning, past studies, current conditions, etc. The six panelists toured the study area and townhouse in North Brookfield with members of the Friends of the Townhouse Committee and the Downtown Development Committee. The panelists then interviewed landowners, business owners and government officials through Zoom to better understand the needs of neighborhood tenants and the community. From there, the panel presented its findings and answered questions on how best to move forward with the revitalization of the townhouse and downtown district.

ULI Boston / New England has been asked to host a North Brookfield Townhouse and Downtown Tech Support Panel as part of our continued commitment to give back to the community and provide important recommendations for improvement. economic development and growth opportunities for the City of North Brookfield, ”said Emily Innes, director of Innes Associates and co-chair of TAP.

During the presentation, the panel recommended a strategic plan that includes creating a business strategy for the townhouse. It involves investigating and vetting potential tenants and interviewing and securing a commercial real estate brokerage to help the vacant townhouse build up. In addition, the panel recommended the implementation of a study on accessibility and traffic issues in the city center to help assess the impact of delivery times and streetscape issues on the dynamism of the city. downtown and the economic pull of retail stores.

To learn more about ULI and the TAP program, visit https://boston.uli.org/get-involved/technical-assistance-panels/.