DCAM last winter commissioned a Jones Lang LaSalle feasibility study of the former Medfield State Hospital site and DCAM this week released that study to Medfield. No word as to why the study dated 4/20/12 had not been released until now.
This is the Executive Summary from the report –
Jones Lang LaSalle has prepared a DRAFT Market Analysis Study for the Medfield State Hospital Site in Medfield, MA. The purposes of the study was to evaluate current market conditions for the major commercial real estate categories,recommend the most viable uses and mix of uses, and advise at a high level on the massing and form of future development as it relates to the market.
The study is intentionally limited to evaluating demographics and real estate market conditions. We have supplemented this infonnation in part with readily apparent observations of the location that will influence potential development demand. This study does not take into account possible constraints such as existing zoning regulations and roadway and utility capacity among others. The study is intended to be the foundation document for a subsequent Comprehensive Re-Use Study which will take into account these other parameters.
There are two qualities of the location that influence potential demand across all property types; demographics and highway access. First, the hospital property is located in a a suburban setting with above average economic demographics which should boost demand in all categories. Second, the property lacks convenient access to major roadways, which diminishes the opportunity for commercial office, industrial, and retail uses.
The most viable use categories include housing, recreation, health care, and continuing care retirement community which can be considered a combination of housing and health care. Within the housing sector, single family, condominium, and multifamily rental are all viable with multifamily being the strongest category currently due to current economic issues. The scale of the property, .L the strength of local demographics and the increasing demand for recreations space, both indoor and outdoor, make this use type one of the most interesting prospects. The aging of the population and the strength of the local demographics make the property an attractive location for healthcare related uses and continuing care retirement development.
Life sciences, institutional, and retail, are considered moderately viable use types. The strength of the life science sector in the region is a positive factor, but is offset by the lack of a local ‘cluster’ and the remoteness of the site. The site is well suited for an institutional use, especially for a retreat type use for daylong or multiday visits-but the demand for this category is limited. The local small establishment retail sector is strong with relatively high rents and low vacancy. The remoteness of the site, and lack of direct access to Rt. 27 are a hindrance and retail is likely to be viable only as a secondary or complimentary use.
Commercial office, industrial, and hospitality are the least viable use types. Of these offices space may have limited potential, in the form of a modest development catering to smaller businesses that cater to the local community. Lack of direct highway access will limit any industrial development to small , local scale only. The remoteness of the site limits opportunity for a hospitality use which typically desire higher visibility locations.
Massing of development on the property should be of modest scale, reflecting the suburban/near rural setting of the property. The location will not support structured parking. Generous open space should be included in any development type, and include walking and bike paths to take advantage of the setting.