Swansea Mall developer wants to move Town Hall to mall site
SWANSEA, Mass. (WLNE) – Anagnost Companies, a New Hampshire based developer, purchased the closed Swansea Mall at auction in 2019 for $4.6 million.
The mall closed in early 2019 after 45 years of business.
Since purchasing the property, Anagnost Companies has been working on transforming the space. The company’s owner, Dick Anagnost, presented his plans to the Swansea Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night.
The old Macy’s building will be turned into several retailer and restaurants. The site has already been approved for six liquor licenses.
The old Sears has potential to become a FedEx or Amazon hub, since it has loading docks.
“What we’ve planned is a total redevelopment, total overhaul of what was the Swansea Mall,” said James Tobin, a member of the redevelopment team.
They also plan on including a storage facility site, 144 apartment units, and a medical center.
But Anagnost said the key to the project’s success will be moving the Swansea Town Hall and other municipal offices to the plaza, which would then guarantee constant foot traffic.
“Traffic is what will attract retail, specifically post COVID,” said Anagnost to the Board of Selectmen. “You can provide that traffic. You have all of the townspeople coming here for one reason or another– for this council meeting, for a planning board meeting, to pay off their parking ticket.”
The developers are offering to construct a new town hall, highway department, council on aging, library, as well as include storage space.
The current town hall, library, highway department, and council on aging all require renovations that the developers say would cost $2.3 million. If the town were to build all new facilities, the developers say that would cost $16 million.
The developer is offering to construct all the facilities at the mall site for $8 million. The town would pay for it with a bond.
“Bond rates are at their lowest point in history,” said Anagnost.
The Board of Selectmen all agreed that they want to explore the plan further.
Before any bond can be obtained by the town, residents would have to approve it with a 2/3 majority vote.
“Based on the history of the support for this project, I think we would be able to garner the votes necessary to secure the borrowing and go forward with the project,” said Christopher Carreiro, the chairman of the board.
If plans move quickly, there could be a vote on the matter as early as October.
First, the town department heads are going to meet with the developers to go over the specific needs of the town.