Town officials offer feedback to Ann & Hope developer

Town officials offer feedback to Ann & Hope developer

Last week Cumberland town officials held their first detailed and substantive discussion in months with the developer of the Ann & Hope mill and noted that the redevelopment project is still on. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

CUMBERLAND – Town officials held their first detailed and substantive discussion in months with the developer of the Ann & Hope mill last week, saying the project is still on despite taking longer than expected for a plan to come before them.

Planning Director Jonathan Stevens said the Aug. 30 meeting revealed that this pivotal project for the conversion of the old mill into hundreds of new residences has largely remained unchanged from its earlier versions.

Stevens didn’t go into detail on the project’s specifics, but he said developer Dave Corsetti of Premiere Development and his team of experts were given some feedback on changes to make before an official submission is made to the town.

“It was a good meeting,” Stevens said, adding that those involved included representatives from his office, the mayor, solicitor, and DPW director.

Asked whether the project itself is a good one, Stevens said he learned a long time ago not to make such value judgments early on.

“It’s similar to the one last fall, but there’s still some work to be done,” he said, adding that there were “exchanges on some finer points.”

The Breeze reported back in June, nearly a year after the Ann & Hope outlet store was shut down here, that a new plan submission was expected to be submitted within weeks.

Nick Goodier, attorney representing Premier Development, the developer purchasing the property contingent on approvals going through, said in June that the plan had changed slightly from what the Chase family was planning to do with their mill, but the basic components of it were still in place.

Town officials last week also emphasized the project’s potential impact to the wider Lonsdale area, said Stevens, Mayor Jeff Mutter saying how he has ambitions for this project to inject some “economic externalities” and spin-off investment in the area, particularly with parallel investments being made into Broad Street.

There was also some discussion about anticipated commercial aspects of the project to complement residential and how important that is to Mutter, said Stevens. The primary commercial component continues to center around a possible restaurant or brew pub in the mill property’s brick boiler house. There was discussion, said Stevens, about what the commercial aspects should do for the overall project.

David Corsetti is the president of Premier Development, which is working on a number of other mill redevelopment projects in the area. The engineer on the project is DiPrete Engineering, ZDS is the architect, and Diane Soule is the landscape architect.

Stevens said the town is still planning to hold a dedicated Planning Board meeting for this one project, a proposal he said will require numerous approvals to all be happening concurrently, including master plan, comprehensive plan amendments, rezoning, and even abandonment of a road.

The best he was able to gather from the developer is that they plan to move forward with a plan in the next month or two.