SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 29, 2014

Brimbal plans face new concern

Costly landfill obstacle could sink land swap, new connector road

(Continued)

CEA Group has offered to pay those costs, but the two sides are far apart on the price, Cahill said.

Cahill said Jacobs Engineering, the company hired by the city to design the project, has estimated the cost of the landfill work at anywhere from $800,000 to $5 million, while CEA Group’s engineers have put the price at $500,000.

“CEA said they will pay for it, but they’re not going to pay $5 million,” Cahill said. “Can they find a meeting of the minds? If they do, this option (moving the connector road) remains viable.”

Steven Cohen, president of CEA Group, could not be reached for comment.

Cahill said engineers have come up with an alternative plan to build a new road on the site of the current connector road, but the design is preliminary, and “we can’t yet be certain of its viability.”

Dan DeAngelis of the North Beverly Neighborhood Association said the news about the connector road confirms the group’s position against the swap for the landfill site.

“It goes back to what we’ve been saying all along, that there are other ways to do this,” he said. “We believe the land swap is wrong.”

DeAngelis said his group prefers that CEA Group build on its current land. Cohen has said a development on his current land would include a mix of office and retail without Whole Foods, as opposed to a retail-only plaza with a Whole Foods on the land he would obtain in a land swap.

DeAngelis said a mix of office and retail would mean less traffic. “It would make more sense for the neighborhood,” he said.

Cahill said building the road on its current footprint would be less expensive — $4.4 million versus $5 million. DeAngelis said the savings could be used to increase pedestrian and bike safety in the project area.

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