Draper Condo Proposal

                                                    It’s “GO” All The Way For
                                                   Draper Condo Project Plan

    HOPEDALE – The Planning Board gave the go-ahead to developer William McLay last night regarding
    the development of plans to construct residential units in the former Draper Corporation complex.
    McLay told selectmen Tuesday night that he plans to purchase the complex from Stimpson Properties
    which manages the property for the Draper Renovation Association.

    McLay said he came before the Planning Board last night to ask members if he should pursue
    residential development and mixed use as opposed to the continuance of manufacturing operations
    within the confines of the 1.6-million-square foot plant.

    “Are we talking about 2,000 units?” asked planner Robert Gately, reacting to preliminary reports that
    70 percent of the complex would be comprised of apartments and condominium units.

    McLay, who said it was premature to discuss numbers, pointed out that 1,000 units was a more
    realistic figure.

    The developer explained that he would be seeking the implementation of Historic Multi-Family District
    zoning, which he is currently using to convert the former Dutcher Street School into a condominium
    complex.

    At a Town Meeting in 1985, voters approved zoning for the school and approximately 300,000 square
    feet of space in the Draper plant which was bought by McLay at that time.

    McLay, who would own most of the complex pending a sale agreement, has estimated that his
    renovation project would cost about $35-million.

    He said he would address the board’s concerns regarding water, sewerage and traffic when he drafts
    a preliminary plan for the complex. Milford Daily News, September 4, 1986.

                               Planning Board Blasts Proposal for Draper

    HOPEDALE – The Planning Board has blasted the proposed renovation of the former Draper plant,
    saying that converting it to a retail-office-condominium complex will ultimately harm the town.

    Developer William McLay, president of W.C. McLay Associates, Inc. of Worcester, is pursuing plans to
    renovate the old mill building, which closed in 1978, into a multi-million dollar mixed-use complex.
    The plans include demolishing parts of the building and constructing approximately 1,200
    condominium units on the site. The factory will be converted into 800 units and an additional 375 units
    will be built in five new buildings adjacent to the complex.

    McLay has also proposed constructing a shopping mall that will feature small boutique-type stores as
    tenants.

    However, at a meeting this week, Planning Board members said the project would overburden the
    town’s water and sewer systems, police and fire departments, schools, garbage disposal, traffic and
    community planning.

    Board member James Ronan said the complex would contribute to a decline in the quality of life in the
    town, and board member Robert Gately said that the complex would be like a “city within the town.”
    McLay, who was not present at the meeting, currently owns a portion of the Draper site. He is under
    purchase and sales agreement to buy the remaining part from Stimson Properties of Wellesley.
    McLay has said that even if his plans are not approved, he will go through with the purchase anyway.
    The project is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $30-million and take eight to 10 years to
    complete. McLay said construction could be underway in about a year.

    However, board member D. Craig Travers cautioned that there is the possibility that the developer will
    build only the condos and then abandon the rest of the rehabilitation project by saying there is no
    market for it.

    McLay was supposed to meet with the Planning Board to set up a schedule for future meetings where
    he will be able to present details of the project as it progresses.

    McLay has already presented details of the plan to the Board of Selectmen and the Water and Sewer
    Commission.

    He has said he will also meet with other boards in the coming weeks to discuss the plans. Milford
    Daily News, August 7, 1987

    I recall hearing at the time that the project never happened because before it got off the ground, the
    whole condo market fell apart. I asked Bob Barrows, who was a selectman in those years, what he
    remembered of it. He replied,

    “Hi Dan, As a member of the Board of Selectmen at that time my recollection was that Mr. McLay could
    not get funding for the project and withdrew his plans from the table voluntarily. Thanks for the article. It
    was very interesting, and for the record, the BOS was supportive of the project up to that point. Bob


    At this point, another problem arose. A Milford News article on January 2 was headlined,

                   Near Disaster in Hopedale on New Years Day

    Pipes Freeze at Draper Plant; 9,000 Gallons Lost, Firms Shut

    There were several articles about that problem over the next few weeks. At that time the few
    companies that had been operating in the shop had to leave.

    Now, back to the end of the McLay condominium proposal.

    By the summer of 1989, the Draper condo issue had faded away from
    the news, replaced by the possible loss of Mei's Diner, trash issues
    and several other matters. All the news clippings, and the items sent
    out by the McLay firm on this page were saved by John Butcher.

                                        
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