Easton's Shovel Shop Project on Schedule, Developers Say

Beacon Communities LLC is approximately a third of the way through with development.

Easton's Shovel Shop project is on track and on schedule, developers told Easton Selectmen Monday night.

"We have not encountered any unique or crazy construction problems," Beacon Communities LLC President Pam Goodman said, adding that minor issues have occurred, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Beacon Communities has been in the process of transforming Easton's historical Ames Shovel Shops into a 113-unit apartment complex since late last spring. The project included a a $4.35 million loan to Beacon Communities from Community Preservation Act funds, which was voted by the town in 2010 to save the shops from being transformed into 182 affordable housing units by property owners George and Robert Turner. Seventy percent of the units will be market priced and 30 percent will be affordable.

According to Goodman and project manager Josh Cohen, they hope to be renting out their first units in the fall of this year.

"We’re about 30 to 35 percent done," Goodman said. "This is the time where it will continue to accelerate as more and more materials show up on site."

Board of Selectmen Chair Colleen Corona reminded residents that the town will not pay more should unexpected costs or challenges arise.

Of the challenges the project has faced, developers said they addressed an issue with contaminated soil, forcing them to move it off-site.

"A lot of soil was trumped off-site to appropriate disposal locations," Cohen said.

Beacon has also been working with additional contractors hired by the town to develop a wastewater treatment plant that will treat water in the Shovel Shop development and portions of North Easton Village.

The multiple construction sites have created a barrage of activity.

"It’s been a ballet out there for coordination," Cohen said, while reassuring selectmen that all has gone smoothly.

Goodman and Cohen said that developers have continued to work with the Easton Historical Commission for items such as exterior lighting and the placement of the former Ames Shovel Shop bell - which will be located under a roof covering a walkway.

Because of the makeup of the buildings, each unit will be unique, Goodman said, and Beacon will begin advertising units soon. Residents interested can also contact community planner Tim Harrigan.

"I’m very encouraged to see the project moving along," Easton Town Administrator David Colton said. "You guys are doing a great job and it’s a great thing. Speaking as someone who believed in it from the beginning, I’m happy to see it moving forward."



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