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Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Twist on Land Assembly

From Boston.com:

Seven families on Lori Lane -- who together make up the entire population of the dead-end road -- are selling their homes en masse for a combined asking price of $4.2 million. Their motive? To get out before a massive commercial development being built on Route 105, directly across from Lori Lane, boxes them in, further changing the nature of their once rural neighborhood.

In a kind of "if you can't beat them, join them" approach, the neighbors hope a developer will buy the parcel to put up a strip mall or something similar.

"This is absolutely the most unusual sale I've ever seen in my 20 years in real estate," said C.F. Cawley of Keller Williams Realty in Easton, the broker handling the sale. . . .

The Lori Lane houses of various shapes, sizes, and assessments, will be sold as a 3.5-acre parcel upon which they collectively sit. The families will split the sale money evenly, no matter the individual value of their homes. If the neighbors get their asking price of $4.2 million, each would get $600,000.

The land is zoned residential but the neighbors have the support of the Planning Board to seek a change at Town Meeting to commercial zoning. Town officials said they expect the change to pass because much of the area is already commercial.

The "Steet for Sale" strategy was simple, said Lori Lane resident Pat Rand, who came up with the idea. It was clear that the huge development going in at the end of the lane -- constructed by National Development and including, among other things, a Stop & Shop, Target, and Chili's -- would send residential property values plummeting. The development is being built on the site of the former Lakeville Hospital.

"There won't be a light for our street, we'll be facing the back end of Target, and we won't be able to get out easily. There will be a light up the street at a new Walgreens, but not here, and we'll be trapped by all the traffic.

"We'll be a little street," she said, "amongst this giant commercial area."

And that means that no one would want to live there. "Our property value will go down, without question," she said.

Ben Barros

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