Hopedale Properties, LLC Focuses on Future for Draper Complex
Since the mid-19th century, the Draper Factory has been a focal point for the Town of Hopedale’s history. As the Town of Hopedale looks toward its future, the 80-acre, former 1.8-million square foot Draper complex will once again become a key area of consideration.
Hopedale Properties, LLC has owned the sprawling Draper campus since the 1990s. Since purchasing the property, Philip Shwachman, Principal of Hopedale Properties, LLC and First American Realty, Inc., has engaged in a number of efforts to redevelop and re-purpose the property.
In August 2020, Hopedale Properties, LLC, began a new phase of abatement and demolition efforts within a portion of the remaining 1 million square foot complex. This work was commenced due to a number of significant structural and environmental conditions that posed safety concerns to the surrounding neighborhood. Since commencement of these abatement and demolition efforts, new structural concerns were identified in remaining portions of the complex.
Due to the severity of these building deficiencies, Hopedale Properties has informed the Hopedale Board of Selectmen of its intentions to proceed with full demolition of the remaining structures on Hopedale and Freedom Streets.
“We are optimistic for the future prospects of this key development site in the heart of Hopedale and very pleased with the enthusiastic support from local residents and community leaders alike,” said Phil Shwachman of First American Realty.
As part of Hopedale Properties effort in re-envisioning the property, Shwachman has engaged the services of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC) to assist in a Master Planning process, including a market study and determination of feasible market options for the historic site. In addition to the WBDC’s work, the Town of Hopedale is working with the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) to complete a comprehensive update of the community’s Master Plan, documenting the community’s needs and how these needs can be addressed.
“This redevelopment initiative has been a long time in the making; and just as Draper Company was a vital component of Hopedale’s economic past, the town is excited to be partnered with Hopedale Properties, WBDC, and CMRPC, to vision and plan for an even more diverse, equally vibrant future, even in the face of these unpreceded times,” added Diana Schindler, Hopedale Town Administrator.
The initial findings from the market study conducted on behalf of Hopedale Properties, LLC identified a number of potential uses, including multi-family and senior residential, industrial/flex space, open space, and destination and/or cluster retail opportunities.
“The decision for Hopedale Properties to pursue complete demolition did not come easily,” said Craig Blais, President & CEO of the WBDC. “While it is difficult to reckon the loss of this historic gem, it is to the larger community’s benefit to focus the time, effort and resources on future development opportunities within the site.”
Abatement and demolition of the first portion of the Draper complex effort along Hopedale Street has been completed and the asbestos abatement of the next portion along Freedom Street has been completed. According to Hopedale Properties, LLC, the abatement and demolition of the site is expected to be completed by the end of June 2021.