By Brenda Crowell
An industrial development group has expressed interest in building a warehouse on a property at 23 Cape Road in Mendon.
Connor Downey of Bluewater Property Group addressed Mendon’s Planning Board at the Board’s meeting on November 22, 2021, detailing a plan to build a large industrial warehouse on the site.
“My company is a regional developer of warehouse properties focused between Philadelphia and Boston,” Downey told the Board. “We are currently under contract to acquire around 20 acres of land from Abe (Jreij).”
Jreij is the principal of Gold Medalist LLC, which owns the parcel as well as 21 and 25 Cape Road.
Downey described the proposed warehouse as being approximately 231,000 square feet, 702 feet long by 330 feet deep. It would have about 11-12,000 square feet of office space between two pods to allow for the possibility of two tenants. The current plan includes roughly 300 car parking stalls, 35 docks for tractor-trailer loading and unloading, and 82 trailer stalls.
“We would be building it on a speculative basis, meaning we don’t have a tenant in tow for the property yet,” Downey said. “But we have an understanding of the market and the tenant demand that’s out there, and we believe this type of facility fits that market need.”
So far, Bluewater Property Group has made only an informal inquiry about its proposed warehouse and has not made a specific application yet. Downey also appeared before the Conservation Commission at that Board’s January 27 meeting to verify the delineation of wetlands that are part of the site.
Several Mendon residents are concerned about the prospect of a large warehouse – nearly twice the size of Target in Milford, which is approximately 126,000 square feet – in a rural community and an area which already has issues with truck traffic, specifically the intersection of Route 140 and Hartford Avenue West.
“That intersection is a problem now and it has been for the 24 years that I’ve lived here,” Mendon resident Bruce Howe told Downey during the Planning Board meeting. “If you permit something, I think you need to understand the consequences of that permitting. If that’s additional traffic that causes a problem, I think the Board has a responsibility to think that issue through.”
“Any traffic study that is submitted will be peer reviewed by our engineers and our traffic specialists,” said Mendon Senior Town Planner Jack Hunter. “We’ll certainly make sure that Mr. Howe’s concerns are addressed, or if not addressed, at least discussed.”
In a letter to the Town Crier, Randy Ranaudo of Mendon also questioned the impact of a large warehouse facility on area traffic. Ranaudo cited proposed warehouses in Hopedale and Bellingham as additional contributors to heavy traffic.
“These roads are already overflowing with traffic, which impacts much of Mendon,” Ranaudo wrote.
The right turn from Hartford Avenue East onto Route 140 is already problematic for trucks. The intersection is too tight to allow large vehicles to make the turn.
“Anyone can easily imagine any one of a number of issues which would impact the town if the project of this magnitude moves forward. A project of this size and scale clearly puts Mendon at a crossroads,” said Howe. “No one wants to stop reasonable development. Is a project of this size reasonable development in character with the town? This is clearly of a size and scale well beyond the character of the community where we live, and infringes on the quality of life we all hope to have by living in Mendon.”