Originally published in the Metrowest Daily News (9/24/16)
photograph by Daily News and Wicked Local Staff Photo / Art Illman
To view all the photographs, click on the link below!
written by Nancy Olesin, originally published in the MetroWest Daily News on 9/9/16
NATICK – Local developer Stonegate Group is pledging to match up to $50,000 in donations received by Oct. 22 for The Center for Arts in Natick’s $1.7 million capital campaign to transform the second floor of its former Summer Street firehouse into a 120-seat art house movie theater, pay off debt, and renovate other parts of the facility.
Yesterday, as workers painted, plastered, hammered and scurried to complete lobby renovations and to rearrange the first-floor main stage seating in time for an evening concert, the electricity in the building suddenly went out when a branch fell on a wire down the street, cutting power to the neighborhood for a few hours.
But the show must go on. Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre was scheduled to play Thursday night, and TCAN Executive Director David Lavalley was taking it all in stride.
"This is a huge gift for us, and it comes at a time when we have just $350,000 remaining to reach our campaign goal of $1.7 million," said Lavalley. "The renovations to our lobby and upper level are well underway and we are expecting them to be completed by Oct. 22."
The downtown arts center has already raised $1.4 million toward its goal, Lavalley said, from corporate and foundation donors, as well as $105,000 from an online Kickstarter campaign, which ended in July.
Renovations began in late July. The concessions area has already been expanded, the ticket office downsized, and new restrooms and the movie theater are nearing completion. New vinyl floors that look like hardwood are being installed, and in the lobby there's an expanded art gallery wall area, new track lighting, and a ceiling with tiny twinkling lights.
As a TCAN neighbor, Stonegate Group wants to add to the vibrant life of the town center, said company president Sean McGrath. Stonegate is currently renovating a neighboring property, the iconic American Legion building at 13 West Central St. to include 11 condos, 7,000 square feet of retail space and an 18-car garage. It’s hoped the retail space will attract restaurants.
“TCAN is a community-building and arts center that provides important cultural experiences for residents,” said McGrath. The Weston resident, who is also a trustee of the Highland Street Foundation - which sponsors Free Fun Fridays at arts venues across the state - said he met with Lavalley several months ago and “loved the project they are doing.”
TCAN, which has occupied the firehouse since 2003, was formed in 1997 and currently has about 1,800 members. The new movie theater - which might offer free popcorn - will start showing films just before Halloween. Lavalley said he's hoping the new theater will help grow the organization to about 2,300 members.
The deadline for the matching donations coincides with TCAN’s Oct. 22 Annual Gala, this year featuring singer-songwriter Marc Cohn.
Cohn is best known for his soulful ballad "Walking in Memphis" from his 1991 eponymous album. Tickets for the gala are $100. Pre-sale for TCAN members ends Sept. 23. Both individual and corporate sponsorship packages will also be available.
To donate to the capital campaign, and for gala tickets and more information, visit www.natickarts.org or call 508-647-0097.
NATICK – Construction of the highly anticipated former American Legion development began in mid-August, with Stonegate Group reuniting with PointsNorth Construction Management and Lim Design Studio on the project. “Stonegate is pleased to once again work with PointsNorth and Lim Design on this exciting renovation project. The quality craftsmanship and superior design of our most recent 2013 collaboration [Piccadilly Place in Downtown Westborough] proves that this team works cohesively with us to create an outstanding product,” stated Dean Calivas, chief operating officer at Stonegate Group.
Over the next several weeks, with guidance from structural engineering experts from Boston Building Consultants and geotechnical engineers from Geosciences Testing and Research, contractors will work to protect the historical integrity of the building by shoring and stabilizing the exterior brick walls in preparation for the interior demolition this fall. While this extra step will add additional time and expense to the project, Calivas explained that “Stonegate understands the importance of preserving this historic Downtown Natick landmark.”
The project is scheduled to be completed in late spring of 2017.
Follow the progress on Facebook: Stonegate West Central
Stonegate was pleased to sponsor the August 1st Concert on the Common with the Roy Scott Big Band. Great music, great giveaways and a great time was had by all. Our Stonegate Group Frisbees were a huge hit with kids both big and small!
Thank you to everyone who came over to visit our table to learn about our two upcoming development projects in Natick Center- we enjoyed meeting all of you!
Stonegate Group was a proud sponsor of the Natick 4th of July parade this year and we are proud to continue to support the town that we call "home".
Written by Brian Benson for the MetroWest Daily News, originally published on 4/23/16
NATICK - A local developer is considering a mix of housing and shops for land along Route 135 between Lincoln and Wilson Streets that could transform a Natick Center block.
Representatives of Natick-based Stonegate Group, which has the property under agreement, presented to the Planning Board Wednesday a preliminary concept to tear down the former 45 East Central St. Catholic school building on site and build housing and shops.
Architect Jim Alexander said project officials are considering one-and two-bedroom units that would appeal to people over 55 and young professionals.
The developer is considering potentially 50 to 70 housing units.
Parking would be underneath the development. The developer also plans to take cues from the neighborhood in designing a project, which could include a courtyard that fits well with open space on neighboring properties, Alexander said.
Planners offered mixed feelings on the potential subject, with some worrying about density and others praising elements such as underground parking. Proponents would need to get Town Meeting to approve a zoning change.
"I liked everything I saw tonight. I appreciate that there's a lot of sensitivity to the neighbors," Planning Board member Andrew Meyer said. "Something like this gives us an opportunity to really work collaboratively."
Board member Julian Munnich wondered why town officials would want to increase the amount of housing allowed on the site.
"Density is a tough sell on a corridor that is already jammed," he said.
Cathi Collins, who lives on Walkup Court off East Central Street, said East Central is "already a traffic nightmare."
She worried the development could add traffic and put pressure on municipal services such as schools and public safety departments.
Planning Board Chairwoman Terri Evans said she would like some element of the school building preserved. She said she also worries about extending downtown zoning that allows a mixed use development too far from the core downtown. That could take away from the compact, walk-able downtown the town has strived to achieve.
Alexander said project officials looked at saving the school but found it unfeasible to convert the large building to another use.
Board member Peter Nottonson said he is "very enthusiastic about the concept presented here" and looks forward to seeing further progression in designing a project.
Written by Brian Benson for the MetroWest Daily News, originally published on 4/22/16
NATICK- A developer planning to turn the vacant downtown American Legion building into space for housing and business has begun interior work.
Stonegate Group, on a Facebook page set up to track progress, reported it has taken down interior walls and done other work.
The Zoning Board of Appeals has voted to approve the development, which will preserve the historic portion of the building fronting West Central Street and replace a newer addition in the rear with a multi-story addition. The ZBA expects to sign the decision for the 13 West Central St. project on Monday, according to its agenda.
The project will create 11 units of housing and space for businesses, including potentially two restaurants, said Jamie Errickson, the town's director of community and economic development.
"That's a pretty iconic building in the center," Errickson said, adding the project is a good example of preserving a historic building while bringing in new uses.
Errickson said the development concept did not change significantly during the ZBA's review. The board focused on finer points of the project, which is on a relatively small size. The trash and recycling area, for example, was moved inside when it had originally been planned for outdoors.
Stonegate plans to provide roughly two dozen parking spaces, including underground spaces, associated with the project, Errickson said.
Demand from restaurant patrons will likely be greatest at night and on weekends, when there is parking available in a nearby town lot, he said.
The building was built around 1880 and has hosted a variety of organizations including a furniture company, Natick District Court and an American Legion post, according to a press release Stonegate issued in February before the ZBA meetings on the project began.
"We are proud to be involved in bringing life back to this prominent Natick landmark," Sean McGrath, president of Stonegate said in the release.
Information on the projects and photos of work are available on Facebook at Stonegate West Central.
FRAMINGHAM -- The long-anticipated arrival of spring will bring about a new name and a new look to an established industrial park located in the heart of Framingham.
The Stonegate Industrial Park, formerly known as the Blandin Industrial Park, is a 5.58 acre site located near the Mass Turnpike and Route 128. Purchased by Stonegate Group, LLC in November 2015 for $3,175,000, the property contains approximately 160,000 square feet of industrial, warehouse and wholesale/retail space.
“Since we purchased the property, we have made, or are in the process of making, several hundreds of thousands of dollars of upgrades to the Stonegate Industrial Park,” stated Dean Calivas, chief operating officer at Stonegate Group LLC.
Among the improvements are new property-wide surveillance cameras, and the installation of several new garage doors and loading dock bumpers. Conscious of the importance of protecting the environment, energy efficient lighting will be installed in the interior and exterior of the property. In addition, new guard rails, fencing, and landscaping will be added to improve safety and the curbside appeal of the property.
The Stonegate Industrial Park is comprised of three separate but interconnected buildings, the first of which was built in 1904 and the last in 1985. In order to improve navigation and safety throughout the expansive property for both tenants and customers alike, new signage has been added to all sections of the property.
“The park is in a great location and is a wonderful place for businesses looking to establish a home in Framingham,” explained Calivas. “We are confident that these improvements will better serve our new and existing tenants.”
The property roster currently includes long term tenants - International Auto Parts, West Springfield Auto Parts, Phillips/Lifeline, and Media Boss. Units of varying sizes are still available, some with drive-in access; others with dock high access. Ceiling heights range from 14 feet in some sections to 22 feet in others.
“We are certain that Stonegate Industrial Park will be an important part of our portfolio for years to come,” Calivas added.
Natick-based Stonegate Group LLC is a leading developer and manager of residential and commercial properties. Stonegate Group LLC also owns and manages over 500 residential units and over 400,000 square feet of commercial space throughout the MetroWest area and has been a leading provider of rental housing for close to 30 years.
NATICK -- Built c. 1880, the red brick-faced building located at 13 West Central Street in Natick has the distinction of being one of several landmark properties in the Natick Center Historic District. At the end of the 19th century, it was home to Cleland, Healy and Underwood Furniture Co, a former Natick treasure. After World War I, it housed the Natick District Court. As early as 1946, when the American Legion resided on the second floor, war veterans were flocking to its doors. And who can forget that F.W. Woolworth Company leased the first floor of the building in the 1940’s until 1960. Sadly, this well-known downtown building, which has been subject to deferred maintenance and largely vacant for the past several years, has fallen into disrepair.
Stonegate Group, a Natick-based real estate development company, has submitted plans to revitalize this once-thriving building known to many in town as the “American Legion Building”. Stonegate purchased the property in September of 2015, and has partnered with Lim Design Studio, a Boston-based architectural firm, to prepare plans to redevelopment the property.
“We are proud to be involved in bringing life back to this prominent Natick landmark,” said Sean McGrath, president of Stonegate. He stated that the redevelopment plan calls for a mixed-use building that includes eleven one- and two-bedroom units, as well as up to four retail spaces.
“Our goal is to bring one or two restaurants, with outdoor seating, to this property,” McGrath stated. “We think it will add to the ever-growing vibrant downtown landscape.” He added that the plan also includes an underground parking lot with 14 spaces.
According to McGrath, Stonegate hopes to return the building to its former glory. Plans call for the deteriorated façade storefronts to be restored to their historic configuration, replacing the current recessed, angled storefronts and mid-20th century pedestrian entrance with three separate entry units for one or more restaurants and/or local businesses. All of the brickwork will be reconditioned wherever possible, and any deteriorated brickwork replicated as needed. The rear, non-historic mid-20th century and 1960’s additions to the building will be demolished and replaced with a three-story addition, but McGrath was quick to add that the aesthetic of the new structure will remain consistent with its historic roots.
“We are confident that this will become a gem in Downtown Natick, and we look forward to working with the Town of Natick as we refine our plans,” McGrath said.
On February 22nd, the Natick Zoning Board of Appeals will hear Stonegate’s request for a variance in order to move forward with its mixed-use development of the property.
Stonegate Group, LLC is a leading developer and manager of residential and commercial properties. Stonegate Group, LLC also owns and manages over 500 residential units and over 400,000 square feet of commercial space throughout the MetroWest area and has been a leading provider of rental housing for close to 30 years.
NATICK – December 22, 2015 - Natick residents are invited to visit the Stonegate Group offices located at 83 Speen Street in order to see the 3-D model of its proposed Saint Patrick Project site. This design, which includes an underground parking garage with more than 130 spaces, 66 residential units and approximately 13,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, was presented at the December 16, 2015 Natick Planning Board meeting.
The design is the result of several meetings held between Stonegate and concerned Natick residents in order to develop a project that would be in keeping with the neighborhood. At one of these meetings, held in early December, one concerned resident inquired about Stonegate’s commitment to properties once they have been completed.
“This is a valid concern, and I hope our track record with other similar properties alleviates her concern,” said Dean Calivas, chief operating officer of Stonegate Group, LLC.
Calivas cited the Piccadilly Place, a mixed-use facility located in downtown Westborough, which Stonegate Group renovated beginning in 2012. Located in the heart of downtown Westborough, the building had been home to the original Piccadilly Pub restaurant. For years, the building had been occupied by various businesses. When the restaurant shuttered its doors, the building lost many of its occupants and quickly fell into disrepair.
As the renovations began in 2012, Stonegate Group “was mindful of the historical nature of the building,” Calivas said.
In order to keep the structure’s original feel, Stonegate repaired and cleaned the exterior brick of the building. Inside, they created a mixed-use facility that included six commercial units on the bottom two levels, totaling 7,500 square feet. These were tailored for the specific tenants that now occupy the facility. In addition five one- and two-bedroom apartments were added on the upper floor.
As part of the renovation, Stonegate added a handicapped-accessible entrance and extended the sidewalk in front of the building in order to address concerns of local residents.
In June 2013, Stonegate received the certificate of occupancy. Almost immediately there was “quite a bit of interest” for both the commercial and residential properties, said Calivas.
Tin Htway, Building Commissioner and Zoning Enforcement Officer for the town of Westborough, praised the Stonegate Group’s ability to take a building that needed so much work and “give it a whole new life.”
“I am very happy with the look and feel of [Piccadilly Place],” he said.
Htway said he credits this building for the revitalization of downtown Westborough, citing that Piccadilly Place is “one of the best looking buildings in downtown Westborough.”
Htway praised the Stonegate Group’s dedication to maintaining the Piccadilly Place as well as when it first opened.
“They are always very responsive,” Htway said. “They always repair anything we ask of them.”
Noting that Stonegate maintains additional properties in Westborough, both commercial and residential, Htway praised the relationship Stonegate has fostered with the town.
“They are very good people,” Htway said. “We have always had a very good relationship with them.”
Stonegate plans to seek Natick Town Meeting approval this spring for the zoning changes required to proceed with the Saint Patrick Project development.
Stonegate Group LLC is a leading developer and manager of residential and commercial properties. Stonegate Group LLC also owns and manages over 500 residential units and over 400,000 square feet of commercial space throughout the MetroWest area and has been a leading provider of rental housing for close to 30 years.
We invite you to check out our Facebook Page and “like” us to receive current updates as this exciting project progresses: www.facebook.com/stonegatesaintpatricksproject