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2/3 of Medfield voters in attendance at the Special Town Meeting need to vote to approve the sale of the property subject to the terms of the Land Disposition Agreement.
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In November of 2021, the Board of Selectmen designated Trinity Financial’s proposal as the most advantageous response to the Request for Proposals issued in April, 2021. In March of this year, the Selectmen executed a Provisional Designation Agreement with Trinity Financial which outlines a potential sale of a portion of the property for purposes of redevelopment and initiated a formal “due diligence” period for Trinity to commission various technical studies and to further engage with Town representatives to refine their proposal for the property.
There are many resources available to learn more about the Medfield State Hospital and the proposed redevelopment:
Yes, any sale of Town-owned land at Medfield State Hospital is subject to state requirements governing disposition of municipal property. These requirements include a Town Meeting vote to approve any proposed sale of any portion of the property.
The date for the Special Town Meeting has not been finalized but is anticipated to be scheduled for the week of June 20 at the Medfield High School.
The Town Meeting will be asked to authorize the Board of Selectmen to sell portions of the Medfield State Hospital property in accordance with the Land Disposition Agreement negotiated by the Board of Selectmen with Trinity Financial. The proposed sale area of 45 acres is about 35% of the Medfield State Hospital land acquired by the Town in 2014. The Town would retain 65% of the property it acquired in 2014, including extensive open space and recreation areas north of Hospital Road and all of the 40 acres the Town bought south of Hospital Road.
Yes, the Board of Selectmen will release the Land Disposition Agreement prior to the Special Town Meeting.
Trinity Financial proposes to use federal and state historic tax credits and other resources to historically rehabilitate virtually all of the brick buildings on the site to create new rental apartments. The Land Disposition Agreement will cap the number of potential housing units at 334 units. For at least five years following construction, the property must remain rental apartments in accordance with requirements of the historic tax credit program. It is possible after that point that some or all of the units could be converted to homeownership, at the developer’s option.
The proposal includes a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments. During the formal due diligence period, Trinity is securing architectural and other reports regarding building conditions and capacity, and also meeting with Town boards and committees to refine the proposed unit mix. The final proposed unit mix will be established prior to Special Town Meeting.
After the Town bought Medfield State Hospital lands from the Commonwealth in 2014, it initiated a strategic planning effort that culminated in the publication of the Medfield State Hospital Strategic Reuse Master Plan. Various scenarios were described in the Master Plan, and the Plan’s “preferred scenario” envisioned housing along with other uses such as limited commercial space and an assisted living facility. In 2019, the new zoning approved for the Medfield State Hospital (the “Medfield State Hospital District),” allowed for these uses by right.
The Master Plan was a conceptual document to identify potential uses of the site. When the Town released the Request for Proposals, it referenced the Strategic Reuse Master Plan but did not require respondents to adhere to the Master Plan or its “preferred scenario”. This was intended to ensure that any proposals received by the Town would reflect projects that developers saw as economically viable to construct and operate over the long term. Ultimately, none of the proposals submitted to the Town included any uses other than residential.
25% of the units will be affordable and restricted to those earning less than 80% of the Area Median income in order to comply with the Town of Medfield’s Inclusionary Zoning bylaw. In addition, these units will count towards the Town’s Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) for compliance with the state law known as “Chapter 40B.”
40B requires that all communities have 10% of their housing be affordable and recorded on the SHI. If not, then developers are able to construct housing projects without needing to adhere to local zoning bylaws. With the approval of this project at 334 units, it is estimated that Medfield will move well over 10% on the SHI, thereby ensuring compliance with 40B for the foreseeable future and protecting the Town from hostile development proposals.
For more information on the Town’s housing objective, please see the updated Housing Production Plan, which was approved by the Planning Board on February 7, 2022 and by the Board of Selectmen on February 15, 2022. The document was sent to DHCD for final approval on February 22, 2022. View the plan HERE and DHCD approved Medfield's Housing Production Plan valid through February 22, 2027.
Since the Town purchased 127 acres at Medfield State Hospital for $3.1 million in 2014, the Town has spent over one million dollars on costs associated with maintaining the structures, security, and performing landscaping activities. In addition, the Town has spent another million dollars on legal services, environmental consultants, planning, and other expenses related to the environmental remediation of the hospital and planning for the hospital’s future.
Beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, the Town began putting revenue from renting out the hospital in a revolving fund so they could be used for Medfield State Hospital maintenance expenses. Since FY2018, the Town has generated revenue from various activities at the hospital, including renting it out to production companies and to the Coolidge Corner Theater for drive-ins, which offsets certain maintenance expenses.
Trinity included an initial fiscal impact analysis in their proposal which is available on the Town website. The fiscal impact analysis estimated net revenues to the Town of $716,000 based on anticipated tax revenue and project related expenses, including the incremental cost of additional students generated by the development.
During due diligence, the Town and Trinity are further reviewing the fiscal impact to the Town in light of additional studies and refinement of Trinity’s proposal. Updated information and more in depth analysis could result in revised fiscal impact projections which will be reviewed by the Board of Selectmen, the Medfield State Hospital Development Committee, and several Town boards and committees, including the Warrant Committee, the School Committee, the Department of Public Works, and others.
The proposed purchase price to the Town is $2 million. When the Town purchased the hospital from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2014, it agreed to share proceeds of a sale in accordance with a formula in the Land Disposition Agreement. The Town anticipates that it will receive approximately $1.6 million from the sale, excluding future benefits such as net real estate tax revenues received each year after the project is completed.
In addition to the $2 million purchase price, Trinity has made a $25,000 payment to the Town for costs incurred during the RFP development and evaluation process. Trinity is reimbursing the Town for its expenses (up to $525,000) associated with the development and construction of the project, for services such as legal counsel, construction oversight, and consulting costs.
Separate from the purchase price to the Town, Trinity is donating $1 million toward construction of the proposed Cultural Arts Center and additional $250,000 in programming funds for the Center.
Presently, the entire campus is open to the public as Town property. While Trinity will take ownership of approximately 45 acres to develop the brick buildings into apartment units (if Special Town Meeting approves), the Town will retain key parts of the campus which will ensure public access in and through the property and continued public enjoyment of open space and recreational areas.
The Town will still own the following areas totaling approximately 82 acres:
The map below shows the parts of the Medfield State Hospital that Trinity would purchase with the yellow overlay.
Trinity is not constructing a gated community. The roads will remain public roads, like any other public way in Medfield. During due diligence and as part of the Land Disposition Agreement, the Town and Trinity will develop an easement plan to formalize how the public will be able to access amenities and parking on areas of the campus acquired by Trinity.
The “unbuildable” section of the North Field (the 15 acres of land behind existing Building 13) will continue to be owned by the Town of Medfield and open to the public.
Most of the walking trails are on Commonwealth of Massachusetts property and are unaffected by the sale of the hospital campus; they will remain open to the public.
The Overlook and trails are on Commonwealth of Massachusetts property and have their own designated parking spots which are not included in the sale of the campus; they will remain open to the public.
When the Town was developing the State Hospital Master Reuse Plan and drafting new zoning for the hospital area, the Town retained Pare Corporation to develop a conceptual water and sewer infrastructure plan and to estimate water and sewer demand for a proposal envisioned by the master plan. Pare Corporation’s report and materials are available on the Town website.
After Pare Corporation completed their conceptual study, the Town’s consulting engineer Environmental Partners provided a peer review of the water and sewer infrastructure. Environmental Partners also analyzed the water and sewer usage information generated by Pare to determine whether the Town had sufficient capacity to absorb the potential new water and sewer demand. Environmental Partners’ report is available on the Town website.
Environmental Partners’ findings were that:
Trinity Financial is not relying on these reports but rather commissioned its own studies as part of its due diligence. These studies will be shared with the Town and peer-reviewed by independent consultants retained by the Town. The findings will be discussed in meetings with the Board of Water and Sewerage that are open to the public.
Trinity’s proposal is for 334 rental apartment units. The Land Disposition Agreement will cap the number of potential housing units at 334 units.
Trinity’s proposal includes 45 studios, 155 1-bedroom units, 100 2-bedroom units, and 34 3-bedroom units. This mix was amended from the original proposal to help ensure the Town can count the entire project toward compliance with 40B and is further supported by interior building measurements obtained by Trinity during the due diligence period. However, the total number of units remains consistent.
Due to the existing nature of the buildings on site, unit sizes vary. The two smallest studio units are approximately 330 Square Feet. The largest three bedroom units are approximately 1,900 Square Feet. The remainder of the units are proposed to be studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units within that range of sizes.
Trinity proposes to restore the historic buildings of the Core Campus, creating 334 new homes for Medfield targeting a mix of income levels. With 25% of these homes as affordable apartments in historic structures, the plan provides alternatives to Medfield’s larger single-family home supply and will be an attractive option for renters and those who are downsizing.
While there are not specifically reserved housing options for seniors, the development team envisions a mixed-income, intergenerational community with housing options for all types of residents and families. In addition, Trinity’s proposed artist preference for 10% of its affordable housing units complements CAM’s efforts to develop a Cultural Arts Center on the former MSH grounds by providing the opportunity to cultivate a true artist community.
Trinity is purchasing the areas known as the Core Campus, West Slope, and a small portion of the North Field around Building #13. The Town is retaining the balance of the North Field, the Green, the Arboretum, and all the land south of Hospital Road.
Public Access will be allowed within and throughout the Medfield State Hospital similar to today. The roads and sidewalks will be public roads and sidewalks, like any neighborhood in Medfield. This will allow visitors to drive and walk around the campus to access the Bellforge buildings (Cultural Alliance of Medfield), the Charles River Overlook and other state-owned land and trails, as well as all of the land that the Town is retaining.
In addition, the Town is securing easements, to enable passage east and west across the campus to the two state-owned pastures that abut the hospital property. Lastly, the Town and Trinity will continue to provide access to groups such as the Norfolk Hunt Club in the same manner that they use the hospital property today.
The below map provides a sketch outline of the area that Trinity would purchase in blue. The orange lines represent easements across Trinity’s property for public use, and the purple outline shows the premises leased to the Cultural Alliance of Medfield (Bellforge).