Two Companies Eye Land at Plant Site

Two Companies Eye Land at Plant Site
By David Reid
Source:The Republican (Springfield, MA)
Friday, January 16, 2004
Edition: CHICOPEE/HOLYOKE, Section: News, Page B01
Dateline: HOLYOKE

HOLYOKE - Two city-based companies, Hitchcock Press and the King Ward Coach Lines, are hoping to buy at least two acres each from six acres of vacant land off Hanover and Stebbins streets in the Springdale section of the city.

That effort took a leap forward yesterday when the Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corporation voted unanimously to implement an economic development plan for two adjacent parcels there.

The property, located between Springdale Park and Interstate 391 along the Connecticut River, is the former site of the BASF Corporation's polystyrene resin plant, which closed in 1997 and moved operations to Mexico or Illinois.

The factory itself was demolished in 1998, but cleanup of hazardous materials in the soil will continue on parts of the property for another two years, city Economic Development Director Jeffrey P. Hayden told development corporation directors yesterday.

Under the proposal, Hayden said, the development corporation will buy the property for $300,000 by Feb. 28 and simultaneously sell subdivided portions at $50,000 an acre to the printing and bus companies.

The city's Department of Public Works which is also vying for a portion of the property for future expansion of its adjacent wastewater treatment plant, will also buy some of the land.
All land sales are subject to soil tests that show all hazardous material has been removed, Hayden said.
If approved by Mayor Michael J. Sullivan and the City Council, the project will create or retain up to 140 jobs, generate up to a $1.2 million in private investment and produce up to $1.5 million in new property taxes over 25 years, Hayden said.

One prospective buyer, Hitchcock Press President J. Guy Gaulin, said he needs more parking now for his adjacent specialty printing plant at 8 Hanover St.

"But I'm sure that, sooner or later, we'll need to expand," said Gaulin, who employs about 20 people. "We don't have any other land (and) we want to stay in Holyoke." His future investment is pegged at about $650,000.

Thomas P. Foley II, accounting manager for King Ward Coach Lines, said his company, which leases a 33,000-square-foot building on North Bridge Street, wants to build a new 12,500-square-foot building off Stebbins Street.

The company, which employs about 75 part- and full-time workers and operates about 26 buses here, will invest about $1 million, documents show.

"We enjoy working and living in Holyoke (and) we want to stay here," he said.