- What is the status of the Medfield State Hospital redevelopment effort?
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.
- How can I find out more about the Medfield State Hospital and the proposed redevelopment?
There are many resources available to learn more about the Medfield State Hospital and the proposed redevelopment:
- Will Medfield residents take a vote on whether to approve the sale?
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.
- When is the Special Town Meeting?
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.
- What will we be voting on at Town Meeting?
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.
- What is the threshold needed to approve the proposed sale at the Town Meeting?
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.
- Will the proposed Land Disposition Agreement that the Town will sign with Trinity be available for review before the Special Town Meeting?
Yes, the Board of Selectmen will release the Land Disposition Agreement prior to the Special Town Meeting.
- What is the Trinity Financial’s proposal? What type of housing is proposed?
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.
- What happened to the concept of including commercial space, stores and restaurants?
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.
- Are there any affordable housing units in the project?
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.
- What costs has the Town incurred since purchasing the Medfield State Hospital from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? Has the Town generated revenue from leasing out the property?
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.
- What are the projected revenues and expenses (fiscal impact) to the Town if the property is developed in accordance with Trinity’s proposal?
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.
- What is the Trinity Financial’s proposed purchase price?
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.
- What kind of public access will there be if the sale is approved?
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 totalling approximately 82 acres:
- The Green (the open green space leading up to the core campus)
- The Arboretum (the cottage area, near the Stonegate entrance)
- The North Field “unbuildable” area (the open space to the north of the core campus
- The Water Tower Parcel
- All of the former hospital land south of Hospital Road
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.
- Will the North Field and trails remain open and be accessible to the public for both humans and canines?
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.
- How will people park and access the Overlook and trails?
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.
- How will this development affect the Town’ water and sewer systems? Do we have enough capacity to support this development?
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:
- MSH development’s estimated peak day water demands of 0.114 MGD could be accommodated under current authorized limits provided that the Town continues to be proactive with its water conservation programs.
- MSH development’s daily sewer flow of 96,910 GPD could be accommodated by the existing 8‐inch PVC sewer system from Hospital Road to West Mill Street based on the assumptions stated in the report.
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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Nicholas Milano, Assistant Town Administrator