In each of the last two terms, the legislature has passed legislation requiring an appraisal of the Belmont Uplands property and creating a process for evaluating the community will to acquire the property for conservation purposes. Most recently, last January the legislature passed House 701. The Governor once again declined to sign the legislation. However, in January, the Secretary of Environmental Affairs made to a commitment to cause an appraisal to be made in lieu of the governor signing House 701.

The Secretary has honored that commitment. He caused a professional appraisal to be made. Upon my written request, he released that appraisal to me yesterday. Click this link to view the appraisal.

Here’s the bottom line: The appraisal comes in at $13.5 million on the assumptions that the property is permitted fairly soon for 299 units of 40B housing and that there are no hazardous wastes requiring cleanup on the property. The appraisers note that rental housing market is favorable right now and further note a “lack of favorable conditions in virtually all other sectors of the real estate development markets.”

The appraisal comes in slightly above the assessed value of the property for tax purposes as of January 1, 2010. So, really there are no surprises in this appraisal. It confirms that the developer has chosen the most profitable strategy and roughly confirms the town’s valuation of the property based on that strategy. However, having a second opinion in hand should clarify conversations about the possibility of acquiring the property.

Thanks to all of my colleagues who were helpful in getting this legislation through originally — especially Senators Donnelly, Tolman and DiDomenico and Representatives Garballey and Wolf.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

3 replies on “Appraisal of Belmont Uplands Property”

  1. Idith Haber has sent me a note correcting a statement in the piece above, stating that the town’s slightly lower appraisal is based on the site’s estimated value as a commercial development site, not as housing.

  2. Also, the assessment is based on the “extraordinary assumption” that a building permit will be issued and legal appeals will be resolved in the near future. The Developer applied for a building permit last September, and it has not yet been issued. The Belmont Conservation Commission and the Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands are still pursuing legal actions.

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