Attleboro's one of the few stops on the commuter rail to Providence that seems worth getting off at and exploring. It may be getting even better soon:
linkBuilding will make way for downtown project
BY GEORGE W. RHODES / SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
ATTLEBORO -- With the ground breaking for a massive downtown redevelopment project still years away, the city has begun chipping away at downtown's existing infrastructure with the acquisition of a small Wall Street building, a redevelopment official said Thursday.
The building at 8 Wall St. was sold June 20 to the Attleboro Redevelopment Authority for $225,000 by Automatic Machine Products.
ARA Executive Director Michael Milanoski said the purchase is the first of several expected buyouts, and represents the first tangible event in what planners hope will be a long string of events leading to a downtown transformation.
In the meantime, the ARA aims to make good use of the former Automatic Machine property.
Plans are to raze the 1,000-square-foot building and build a second driveway into the MBTA parking lot as a short-term traffic improvement, Milanoski said.
`` We're working with the mayor, GATRA and the MBTA to improve access into that lot,'' he said. `` The current access is unsafe and creates delays.''
A Wall Street driveway, coupled with the existing South Main Street access should help traffic flow better, he said.
While it's a temporary measure and a small job in the face of an estimated $60 million worth of infrastructure improvements and a hoped for $150 million in private investment, it's a beginning, Milanoski said.
If all goes well, the downtown plan, now in its final stages of planning, will create as many as 500 new units of housing, a new MBTA parking garage, a GATRA bus station and as much as 30,000 square feet of new commercial space.
But while acquisition of the Wall Street building is the only visible change so far, much has been done behind the scenes.
The ARA has purchase and sale agreements in place with Automatic Machine for its main buildings on either side of Wall Street, as well as Attleboro's Old Barn on the corner of Wall and South Main Street.
They are two key properties that under ARA plans will be torn down to make way for a new Wall Street and new traffic pattern downtown.
Execution of the sales are contingent on approval of ARA plans by state and local governments, Milanoski said.
The ARA also has a purchase and sale agreement in place with owner of the former Peter's Fruit Stand just east of the railroad bridge on Park Street, he said.
`` This is just the tip of the iceberg,'' Milanoski said of the sale. `` A lot of work has been done.''