News Flash


Posted on: February 12, 2020

Former Newbury College Development Update - Public Hearing 2.25.20 @ 8:30 PM

Brookline Town Seal


During the Meeting of the Select Board

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at Approximately 8:30 p.m.

  • Presentation of the Overall Land Use Plan and Development Agreement
  • Presentation of Acquisition and Temporary/Long-Term Use of the West Campus
  • Question of authorizing a debt exclusion question to appear on the Annual Town Election ballot


The Select Board has adopted the recommendation of its Newbury Zoning Committee by voting to approve a negotiated land use plan for the former Newbury College campus.  Here is the statement of the Chair of the Select Board and a summary of the terms of the agreement. Approval of aspects of the plan will involve both a voter referendum and Town Meeting approval this spring.


I am pleased to report that, during our executive session this evening, the Select Board voted to adopt the Newbury Zoning Committee’s recommendation to approve a preliminary agreement with Welltower on the development of the Newbury College campus on Fisher Hill.  This agreement was reached after extensive and productive negotiations between the Welltower project team and the Town’s Newbury Campus Zoning Committee (including its Negotiating and Design Subcommittees and working groups).

The agreement incorporates three main components:


(1) The development of the east side campus into a 160 unit senior housing complex combining independent living, assisted living, and skilled memory care;

(2) The strategic acquisition of the west side of the campus by the Town for $14.8 million to be used initially for various municipal purposes and in the long run for a municipal or school use that will be determined after a robust public process that will include the Select Board and School Committee, staff, members of Town Boards and Commissions, residents, and other community stakeholders; and

(3) The development of 18-units of mixed income-affordable housing at the Holland Hall site by New Atlantic Development, a Boston Based developer of affordable housing, with Welltower providing a partial financial guarantee of completion of the project.

All of these matters will be incorporated into a final Memorandum of Agreement between the Town and Welltower.  The MOA will be the binding document between the Town and the Developer and will contain further relevant details on the project.  I will briefly summarize them this evening, but we have also posted on the Newbury webpage on the Town’s website a document explaining the MOA in more detail.  It is our intent to file the necessary warrant articles for Town Meeting approval this spring and to place a question on the Annual Town Election ballot on May 5 seeking to exclude the costs of debt to acquire the west campus property from the limitations imposed by Proposition 2½.

Select Board member Nancy Heller will shortly discuss the process that got us to this point and the steps going forward and our real estate advisors McCall & Almy will provide additional detail on the favorable terms under which the Town will be purchasing the west campus.

Here are some of the positive benefits that formed the basis of the Select Board’s support for this project.

  • The development of senior housing that will provide substantial new tax revenue to the Town with minimal impact on Town and school services.
  • The ability to purchase land at a below-market price that will create future strategic value to the Town while providing some immediate municipal use of the Academic Building on site.
  • Construction of badly needed mixed income-affordable housing on Fisher Hill in close proximity to the Welltower project.
  • Donation of an easement to the Town to preserve the mature trees lining Fisher Avenue.
  • The preservation of the historic Mitton House as part of the senior housing development.
  • Welltower’s commitment to pursue sustainable design of the new facility including a commitment to avoid the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling.
  • Job opportunities for Town residents.
  • Many other community benefits.

We look forward to engaging with the community over the next several weeks to explain in greater detail the benefits of this project and the approval process that will be presented to the voters and Town Meeting this spring.

You can find the full term summary prepared for the Select Board at their February 11, 2020 meeting here. 

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