It's hard to miss the construction fencing and activity at the Lee's Farm site at 134 Boston Post Road (across from Prime131).
Which is why it isn't all that surprising that we've heard from a couple of people wondering "What's going on at the Lee's Farm site?"
We're so glad you asked:
Town Planner Sarkis Sarkisian said the project getting off the ground is one that has been approved since November of last year.
Carriage House at Lee's Farm will be a 62-room, assisted living and memory care facility to be located on part of land formerly owned by the Bongiorno family. The family owned about 10 acres total at the site and divided the land into into two parcels, each about five acres. One of those was sold to the Northbridge Companies for the assisted living and memory care development.
“We were delighted to be able to work closely with the town, neighbors and the Bongiorno Family, to make Carriage House a reality,” said Wendy Nowokunski, president of Northbridge Companies, in a press release. “Many people have already shown interest in living here and we look forward to bringing the next generation of Lee’s Farm to life.”
The two-story facility will be about 53,000 square feet, with a 23,000 square foot footprint, according to Ray Mitrano, a consultant who represents the Northbridge Companies.
"The design takes into account trying to make it look like a scenic farm," Sarkisian said. "There's a lot of thought that went into the design."
The necessary permits were granted in November 2011, but the developer since has been involved in a lawsuit with an abutter, delaying the start of the project.
Now that the project is underway, Mitrano said they are estimating a 12-month buildout with the facility slated to open in fall 2013.
A decision has yet to be made regarding the second parcel, which includes the old farm stand along Route 20. Mitrano said that the stand will be largely renovated by the Northbridge Companies.
"As part of our contribution to being good neighbors, we'll take care of some of the construction," Mitrano said, adding that the interior of the stand is in remarkably good shape, though a new roof and some exterior work is needed.
Two neighborhood groups in Wayland has expressed interest in purchasing the second parcel and the farm stand in order to create a selling spot for local farmers as well as a cafe and possible greenhouse -- all operated on a community-supported basis.
Bill Sterling, a volunteer with the groups, said that the Bongiorno family has said it wants to discuss selling the farm stand parcel to the community groups after the first of the year. An appraisal of that parcel came in at $300,000 earlier this year, but that number is well under the amount the family said it wanted for the property.
Sterling pointed out, however, that Northbridge Companies renovation of the farm stand would increase the appraisal value and perhaps bring it more in line with the family's expectations. Sterling said the community groups have some renewed excitement about the property now that construction is underway.