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Marlborough City Council to discuss Walker Building's future

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – City officials are expected to discuss potentially spending between $75,000 and $100,000 to study the feasibility of redeveloping the Walker Building.

Located in the heart of downtown Marlborough on Main Street, the Walker Building only houses 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 Walker Building to the former senior center.

“The Walker Building is a beautiful and iconic structure on Main Street, but half of its 60,000-square-feet of space is vacant,” Mayor Arthur Vigeant wrote in a letter to the City Council.

In a letter to Vigeant, Tim Cummings, executive director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation, described the Walker Building as “an underperforming asset that has been very well maintained despite not having a clear purpose.”

The MEDC’s executive committee recently discussed potentially redeveloping the building for the purpose of stimulating economic activity in the new downtown village zoning district and is seeking guidance from the City Council, Cummings said in his letter.

“My office wanted to have a discussion with the City Council and take direction as to whether there is an appetite to redevelop the Walker Building for another purpose,” Cummings wrote.

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

“There are very limited opportunities in the downtown village area where such a large footprint exists that can act as an economic engine,” Cummings wrote.
Over the summer, Cummings obtained a few price quotes from architecture firms for a feasibility study. The cost ranged from $75,000 to $100,000, Cummings said in his letter.

“This technical review would provide the city with information necessary to decide how best to maximize the asset’s value as there will be many issues to be dealt with should this analysis occur,” Cummings wrote.

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

The City Council is expected to take up the issue during its meeting Monday. The meeting will be held at 8 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.