In early 2019 the Rochester Planning Board gave a Dartmouth developer approval to begin the planning process for a 208 unit 40R mixed-use project on the former RF Morse garden center property at the corner of Route 28 and Route 58 in Rochester, MA. When retail says no, housing always says yes in Massachusetts.
AD Makepeace has been looking to partner or to unload the property for years since taking a leadership role in its evolution and ultimate reincarnation.
The contemplated project will consist of consist of four separate four-story buildings containing a total of 160 two-bedroom units, 24 one-bedroom units and 24 three-bedroom units. One quarter of the apartments would be rented at rates deemed “affordable” by the state. The remainder would be rented at market rates.
The developer has a Town Meeting and Planning Board review process ahead but the dramatic need for housing especially affordable housing make this a promising project for the town and the region. The nearly 30 acre site has been marketed for over a decade and seems to have traction with this mixed-use housing project as the anchor.
Properties straddling I-195 to the Southeast of this location have been trading at a faster clip in recent years now that most of the land is been repurposed and major infrastructure improvements are in.
Though there are still properties available in this market:
- 3 Tow Road, West Wareham
- 6 Recovery Road, West Wareham
- 2512 Cranberry Highway, Wareham
- 2211 Cranberry Highway, West Wareham
So what does Rochester Crossing mean for commercial property uses and values nearby? Will the 208 units filled with residents and visitors attract other developers willing to build on vacant land and repurpose existing structures for retail, food and service providers? One day care service provider thinks so. Country Side Day Care is moving into the office space at 15 Cranberry Hwy, Rochester opposite the Rochester Crossing site. The office space was left vacant when the USDA moved to a new construction office building on Thatcher Lane, West Wareham.
- Rochester based day care sees writing on the wall, plans move across the street from 208 units proposed in Rochester, MA.
One thing for sure, land along Cranberry Highway in West Wareham and Wareham Street in Rochester and Middleboro are zoned commercial, general use or industrial and are ripe for redevelopment.
- Greg Donahue marketing 2211 Cranberry Hwy, a 1.07 Acre West Wareham site, near Rochester Crossing
- Greg Donahue sells 1 Rae Ave in West Wareham for cash, no contingencies
- Greg Donahue sells 3.5 acres of Wareham industrial land with a cell tower on it.
I feel the Rochester Cross Roads 40R project will validate the intersection and attract new businesses, investors and developers to the neighborhood.
As for valuations, the value of commercial real estate is driven by what you can do with it; zoning, density, utilities, traffic. Price is driven by rate of return, though sometimes its a financial rate of return mixed with a return on quality of life return. A person that whats to live in a commercially zoned house and run their business out of the backyard has many financial savings but also potential quality of life improvements. Plus they have upside years down the road when the highest and best use is not their current use. Mom and pop end users aside national tenants and their preferred developers typically pay the most.
- Greg Donahue sells 21 acres of West Wareham industrial land, cash, no contingencies
- Greg Donahue sells 2203 Cranberry Hwy, West Wareham for cash, low contingencies
How long will it take for the area to have the characteristics national buyers and tenants want? It could be a while. Sewer availability is a big driver of development cost savings and density calculations. There isn’t sewer is this neighborhood yet. Low income levels, number of roof tops, and traffic counts are other considerations for national or super regional businesses look for before they locate anywhere. How long should existing property owners hold out, and will it be worth the wait? Depends on where they are in life and whether their expectations are realistic.
If Rochester Crossing gets approved and funded, area property appreciation for prime property will tick up significantly. It will then be modest appreciation mirroring the quality of businesses locating to the market and momentum of development in the market. As more money gets invested in the intersection, existing property owners can expect more for their property, to a point. It all depends on what you can do with it and who wants to be there.
If you have questions or would like to discuss your property or the market reach out 774-269-0775.