It has been the question of the summer in town: “What is going on with all of the construction at Mashpee Commons?”
That question was officially answered yesterday morning, July 17, when Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick joined a contingent of state and local leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of development at the commons.
Nearly 100 people attended the event, which was held under gray, but rain-free, skies.
The expansion, funded by a $900,000 MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant awarded to the Town of Mashpee, will allow for the extension of Market Street from its current terminus in Mashpee Commons southward to Job’s Fishing Road.
In October 2013, Town Meeting voters approved an article authorizing the Mashpee Board of Selectmen to acquire an easement over the proposed extension of Market Street, thereby authorizing the town to apply for and accept a MassWorks grant for the design and construction of the new roadway.
Thomas K. Feronti, construction manager at Mashpee Commons, said that the project, dubbed “Phase 1A,” will include eight new buildings. The new buildings, which will be consistent with the Cape-style architecture found throughout the commons, will include 12,000 square feet of commercial space which could house retail, restaurants, or offices.
In addition, the buildings will also contain 50 apartments, 25 percent of which will be affordable.
Mr. Feronti said that he expects that the foundations for the buildings will be completed by the end of the year, and that they will be ready for occupancy by next spring and summer.
“This is a very exciting time for the partnership between the town and Mashpee Commons, and also is reflective of an improving economy on the Cape,” Mr. Feronti said, adding that the Commons already has full occupancy for its existing 40 apartment units and that there is a waiting list for new renters.
Eventually, 382 units of mixed-income housing will be built at Mashpee Commons, but plans have not been determined for the start of any additional phases of the project.
The MassWorks program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Economic Development, and is designed to stimulate job creation and long-term economic growth.
“When we partner with cities and towns by investing in local infrastructure, we support economic growth and we strengthen communities where residents can live, work, and play. Through this funding, we are paving the way for future opportunities that will advance economic development in Mashpee and help build a brighter future for the Commonwealth,” Governor Patrick said in a prepared statement.
During the last round of funding in late 2013, $79 million in grants were awarded for 33 projects, with Mashpee being the only recipient on the Cape and islands.
While Mashpee Town Manager Joyce M. Mason was on vacation and could not attend the ceremony, her efforts in securing the MassWorks grant were noted by several speakers, including State Representative David T. Vieira (R-Falmouth), Mashpee Selectman Michael R. Richardson, and Arnold B. “Buff” Chace Jr., the managing general partner of Mashpee Commons LP.
“Our town manager has worked very hard to ensure that this fantastic collaboration between the town and Mashpee Commons could become a reality,” Mr. Richardson said.