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Committee to discuss Walker Building's future

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – The Operations and Oversight Committee is expected to discuss the future of the Walker Building early next year after the City Council Monday night referred the matter to the group.

A downtown staple for several decades, the building houses only a handful of offices and city departments, including Veterans Services and the Retirement Board. The Community Development Authority board recently signed off on plans to move its offices from the building to the former senior center.

With half of the 60,000-square-feet vacant, the Marlborough Economic Development Corp.’s executive committee recently discussed redeveloping the building for the purpose of stimulating economic activity in the new downtown village zoning district.

Late last year, the City Council approved a new downtown rezoning proposal aimed at spurring redevelopment and bringing new uses downtown, such as hotels, brewpubs, bed and breakfasts, music recording studios and a performing arts center.

In a letter to the council, Tim Cummings, corporation executive director, said there aren’t many opportunities downtown where such a large property exists that could act as an economic engine.

In the summer, Cummings obtained a few price quotes from architectural firms for a feasibility study that would determine the best use for the building. The cost ranged from $75,000 to $100,000, Cummings wrote in the letter.

Cummings characterized the building as “an underperforming asset that has been very well-maintained despite not having a clear purpose.”

Mayor Arthur Vigeant described the building as a “beautiful and iconic structure.”

Vigeant and Cummings said any future use would be predicated upon the building’s exterior not being altered.

In other business, the City Council accepted a $50,000 grant from the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The grant will be used to purchase items for the new senior center’s patio.

“We look forward to utilizing this grant to continue to enhance the quality of life of our senior population here in Marlborough,” Trish Pope, Council on Aging director, wrote in a letter to the City Council.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here