SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 20, 2013

Filing touts project's potential

Developments may include $95M hospital expansion

BEVERLY — Mayor Bill Scanlon has long touted the Brimbal Avenue interchange project as a key to unlocking the economic potential of more than 500 acres of land near Route 128.

A 153-page environmental form filed with the state reveals just what the mayor has been talking about.

The form, filed by the city and the state’s Department of Transportation, lists 18 “potential” developments that could create 7,338 jobs, including a $95 million expansion at Beverly Hospital.

In an interview, Scanlon said the list represents “assumptions” about developments that might become reality if the state goes forward with the $25 million Brimbal Avenue project.

“It’s conceivable they could happen,” Scanlon said. “You can almost be certain that not all of them would happen.”

Proponents of the Brimbal Avenue project say the work would create easy access to acres of undeveloped land around Route 128, thus making it worthwhile for landowners to develop their properties or expand what is already there. The project, which would be done in two phases, calls for a series of new interchanges between the highway and surrounding roads, including construction of a bridge over Route 128 from Brimbal Avenue to Dunham Road.

In an environmental notification form filed with the state last month, the city listed a range of potential projects, from a shopping plaza on Brimbal Avenue to a hotel on Dunham Road to a recreational center on Sohier Road. By far, the largest project mentioned in the filing is a potential $95 million “on-site investment” at Beverly Hospital’s 48-acre campus that would create 800 jobs.

In a separate filing last year seeking a state grant for the Brimbal Avenue project, the application said the hospital is “very interested” in an expansion and has “shown a real interest” in building a connector road from Brimbal Avenue through undeveloped land to the hospital campus.

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