Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains answers to general questions concerning the Old English Square development. Click here to submit a question.

Q: What is going to happen to the Wright Brothers' bowling alley? It's very important because it's the only place in town for young people to go.
A: The owners of the bowling alley business have a lease for their building that runs at least until 2008. So they should certainly be around until then. In the meantime, we feel that the bowling alley is very compatible with what we have planned for the site.

Q: What is the Old English Square Project?
A: The Old English Square Project is a mixed-use development project planned for the Town of Holbrook offering a pedestrian-friendly shopping village and residential community that will revitalize the downtown area and generate a significant amount of new growth revenue for the Town.

Q: What is the proposed site for this project?
A: The land behind Wright Bros. Sports Center at 231 Union Street, formerly the Wright/English farm, is the proposed site for the Old English Square development.

Q: What steps are involved in the approval process?
A: First, the parcel needs to be re-zoned to permit a mixed-use designation. Once the re-zoning is approved, development plans will be submitted and will be the subject of a public meeting review with the planning board. With finalized development plans, the project will be voted on at Town Meeting for approval.

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Q: What are the development plans for this site?
A: The project consists of two parts - the Retail Village with approximately 36,000 square feet of retail/commercial space in two buildings facing Union Street and 28 residential units - 21 over retail stores and 7 townhouses - and the Residential Village with 315 residential units. The Retail Village is expected to hold 4 to 6 shops, plus 5 to 6 small businesses. Coffee shops, movie rental stores, dry cleaners, and restaurants are potential retail tenants. The small businesses are expected to be law offices, doctors' offices etc. In between the buildings will be a green space and a driveway. View drawings and plans.

Q: Will the residential units offer one or two bedroom units?
A: Of the 28 residences planned for the Retail Village, 11 are one-bedroom, 10 are two- bedroom and 7 are a townhouse design. The 315 residential units planned for the residential village include 157 one-bedroom units and 158 two-bedroom units.

Q: Has the Town given the developer the go-ahead for this project?
A: For this project to move forward, the parcel must be approved for a zoning change by Town Meeting. Currently, it is zoned for business or commercial use. The developer will need a zoning change to permit a mixed-use zoning designation allowing multi-family housing and commercial uses. The developer, Joseph R. Mullins Company, is seeking Holbrook's approval to re-zone the parcel from the current commercial zoning designation to a rail transit district.

Q: Will Holbrook residents have an opportunity to vote on this project?
A: A representative Town Meeting will be held in May 2003 at which time Holbrook's Town Meeting Members will vote on behalf of Holbrook residents on whether or not to re-zone the site, allowing the project to move forward.

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Q: When would construction begin? How long will construction last?
A: Construction of the project could begin as soon as 2004 with retail and residential occupancy expected some 24 months after the start of construction.

Q: What are the benefits to Town residents?
A: The benefits to the Town of Holbrook include:

  • An attractive residential and retail community located near the center of town
  • Annual net revenues (after municipal service costs) of approximately $500,000 per year
  • Building permit and associated building fees of approximately $300,000
  • A shopping village offering new retail outlets and office space
  • The new residential units will generate $3.3 million in additional retail sales for existing Holbrook businesses
  • 343 residential units and approximately 36,000 sq. ft. of commercial space generating about $830,000 in new property taxes annually
  • An increase in total assessed valuation by at least $51 million dollars
  • An increase in local bonding capacity potential of between $7 and $8 million dollars
  • Increased local employment opportunities
  • Alternative housing for area seniors
  • Bike paths
  • Preservation of open space
  • Developer to donate land for recreation
  • Meadow at back of property will be maintained
  • Minimal impact on Holbrook's school system and town services

Q: Does the proposal include plans for affordable housing?
A: The proposal does not include any affordable housing component.

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Impact of this Project on Holbrook

Q: What is the impact of this project, including the new residential units, on the school system?
A: To analyze the impact that this development would have on the Town of Holbrook, a Fiscal Impact Report has been prepared by John Connery, Principal of Connery Associates and Fiscal Consultant to the Old English Square Project.

Upon examination, the Project's Fiscal Impact Report shows that this development will add approximately 22 school-age children to Holbrook's school system. These children would be dispersed throughout different grades and would have a minimal impact on the schools' population and resources. And because half of the condominiums planned for Old English Square are one-bedroom units, this will preclude large families from moving in.

Mr. Connery has produced similar studies for towns and developers throughout Massachusetts. Read the Fiscal Impact Report.

Q: How will the project affect taxes in Holbrook?
A: According to the fiscal impact report conducted by Connery Associates, the proposed project generates strong long-term net revenues for the community and will be a significant factor in helping to offset future municipal costs - because it will pay its own services (maintenance, trash removal, landscaping, snow removal, etc.) and will have little impact on school enrollment, the project will add tax revenue. The Board of Assessors has reviewed and accepted the tax revenue projections. For further details, the fiscal impact report is available for review.

Q: What impact will it have on traffic?
A: A traffic study for the Old English Square development site is currently being prepared by the engineering firm H.W. Moore Associates, Inc. When the study is completed, the development team will make it available to the general public. The commuter rail station on the Holbrook-Randolph border is only a short distance away.

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Q: What effect will this project have on Town services?
A: The proposal will generate long term net revenues for the Town, thus enabling Holbrook to maintain and improve town services, such as the Police Department and the Fire Department.

Q: Who will be responsible for maintaining the onsite infrastructure of Old English Square?
A: The developer will be responsible for providing services such as road maintenance, trash removal, landscaping, plowing/sanding and lighting.

Q: Can the town's business owners expect any benefits as a result of this project?
A: This new retail and residential community will revitalize the downtown area and generate a significant amount of new growth revenue for the Town. According to the Fiscal Impact Report prepared by Connery Associates, the project will generate approximately $3.3 million in additional retail sales within the Town of Holbrook and $15 million regionally.

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Click here to read questions from community members regarding the project.

© 2002 The Mullins Company