Calamar’s apartment building in Buzzards Bay, The Tides at Bourne, is expected to be completed and ready for people to move in sometime this fall. That was the assurance a representative of Calamar gave the Bourne Board of Selectmen this week.
Jerry Hill, executive vice president for construction and development for Calamar, appeared before the selectmen during their remote meeting Tuesday, April 6. Mr. Hill told board members he is confident the building under construction off Main Street will be complete before the end of the year.
The selectmen authorized Town Administrator Anthony E. Schiavi to write a letter to Calamar expressing the town’s dissatisfaction with the building’s progress. Mr. Schiavi’s letter cites board members’ concerns over “poor site conditions, lack of any substantial work occurring for many months and possible problems with long-term exposure of structural component to the elements.”
The Tides at Bourne is being built as part of the multi-use campus going in on Kendall Rae Place overlooking the Cape Cod Canal. The Bourne Planning Board greenlit the 120-unit apartment building in December 2017. Construction began in late March 2019.
Located adjacent to the new Hampton Inn and Keystone Place, the facility will be a combination of one- and two-bedroom apartments, most renting at market rate. Ten percent of the apartments will rent as 40B affordable housing. The residence will be age-restricted to those 55 and older.
Additional amenities offered tenants will be a library, community room, fitness center, lounge, yoga room, chapel, computer lab and a movie theater, Mr. Hill said. He said the building is “leasing up quickly,” and it is already 35 to 40 percent pre-leased. The expectation, he said, is that it will be leased “considerably ahead of that” by the time it opens.
“We consider this to be a very important building for us,” he said. “We really consider it to be a flagship building.”
Mr. Hill said COVID-19 restrictions in the Northeast were more severe and lasted longer than in other parts of the country. Those restrictions factored heavily in the delays to the building’s completion, he said.
He added that the pandemic slowed, if not completely halted, supply chains. One example he pointed out was that three of the four main manufacturers in the United States of doors for apartment complexes shut down for three to four months last year.
Mr. Hill said activity at the construction site has started to ramp up again, with windows and doors being installed. The expectation, he said, is there will be full activity at the site by May 1. By this fall, he said, the building should be completed and residents moving in.
“We get calls every day about this facility at our call center,” he said. “There’s a lot of demand for it, so we’re excited about that.”
Board member Jared P. MacDonald urged Mr. Hill to get the construction site cleaned up. Mr. MacDonald said there is a lot of debris that gets tossed around in the wind coming off the canal, making the site look unprofessional.
“A little more organization on the site, and that professional cleanliness would be great,” he said.
Mr. MacDonald also expressed concern about possible health issues with the building caused by mold growing on wood at the site that had been exposed to the elements over the winter. Mr. Hill said the company hires a third-party vendor to examine items and recommend replacement, if necessary.
Perry Avenue resident Karen McLaughlin is an abutter to the Calamar building. Ms. McLaughlin said sand blowing from the property has kept her family from being able to enjoy their back yard, with its garden and pool.
“We just can’t enjoy living at our own house,” she said.
Selectman Peter J. Meier pointed out the building’s importance to the revitalization of the downtown business district. Mr. Meier noted that the new wastewater treatment facility being built in Buzzards Bay was approved by residents, in part, based on Calamar’s building bringing new businesses and new people to town. The unfinished building, he said, is not an enticement for a company to invest in Bourne.
“I don’t want this, in its present state, to be the image that’s portrayed in this community; that’s not the image that I want, he said.”
Selectman James L. Potter called the Calamar building “one of the most prominent” in Bourne’s downtown. Mr. Potter acknowledged that it has been a difficult year for construction projects, with the pandemic, but he added that town officials would like to see construction ramp up again.
“We’ve been worried that it looks more unfinished,” he said, “than a project that looks like it’s going to be finished.”
Mr. Hill said that he would immediately communicate all of the board’s concerns to the project supervisors and ensure that steps are taken to clean up the site. He added that he will provide the town with an update on the project’s status in August.
There had been rumors of Calamar potentially backing out of the Buzzards Bay project and possibly selling the unfinished building and property to Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Mr. Hill told the selectmen that the company has never sold one of its buildings.
“We are careful about where we build,” he said. “We own and operate our own facility; we have never sold a facility, so we intend to be neighbors in the community and stay put for the long haul.”