Sprawling complex planned for Tasty Top parcel in Easthampton

  • A large milti-use development including 10 three-story apartment guilding is proposed for the former Tasty Top site on Route 10, where the former ice cream stabd was demolished in October. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/9/2022 6:57:09 PM

EASTHAMPTON — A Westfield developer is proposing an estimated $26 million to $30 million mixed-use residential and commercial center at the former Tasty Top site on Route 10. 

The proposed development at 93-97 Northampton St., which is tentatively being called as “Sierra Vista Commons,” will include an approximately 9,000-square-foot Roots Learning Center, a 7,000-square-foot Roots Gymnastic Center, 10 three-story apartment buildings with 180 units, two sit-down restaurants, three mixed-use retail/office buildings with apartments above, and two 13,600-square-foot mixed-use warehouse buildings.

Tasty Top Development LLC, which is registered to Frank A. DeMarinis, owner of Sage Engineering &  Contracting Inc. of Westfield, submitted an application for this proposed development to the city’s Planning Board on Nov. 28. Tasty Top Development purchased the Northampton Street site from Dennis Courtney for $2.2 million on April 11.

“The project does achieve some of the goals that were identified in the city’s housing production plan,” said City Planner Jeff Bagg. “This is just the beginning of their process.”

The Northampton Street site was previously part of a larger 33-acre parcel that has been sought after by several developers over the years in hopes of bringing proposals including a marijuana business and a Stop & Shop plaza to fruition.

While none of those developments came to pass, a 37,276-square-foot parcel subdivision was carved out of the larger property and the Planning Board approved a special permit in March for a drive-thru Starbucks with 33 parking spaces on that piece.

The majority of the site had been previously developed for a variety of uses. Approximately 10 acres of land was historically used for a driving range for the former Easthampton Golf, and included a small paved parking area, a small shed that acted as a sales office, an artificial turf and natural grass tee box area, and a mowed lawn range.

Along the immediate frontage of Northampton Street was the longtime summer staple, Tasty Top ice cream stand, and its paved parking area. In October, the ice cream stand was razed.

The city also has issued a building permit to demolish the single-family home and barn that remains on the developer’s property.

Sierra Vista Commons

The design for the proposed Sierrra Vista project was created “with an effort to identify appropriate uses for the site based on the existing zoning requirements, and in consideration of planning issues identified by city officials and planning documents generated by the city and the community,” according to the project narrative in the developer’s application.

One need that was identified by city officials is for an increase of affordable housing. The city’s master plan recognizes the need for affordable housing to address ever-increasing housing costs and low vacancy rates for rental properties in Easthampton.

The project proposes a total of 35 units of affordable housing at a minimum requirement at the overall site. The affordable housing units will be a mix of three different bedroom configurations and spread throughout several of the residential buildings on the property, and mixed in with other rental rates and types.

The proposal calls for the residential buildings on the property to be constructed in the same size, style and finishes. Anticipated rates based on current guidelines are $1,506 for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,694 for a two-bedroom apartment, and $1,882 for a three-bedroom apartment.

The applicant also estimates a creation of 20 to 25 new jobs for the completion of phase one, which includes construction of the Roots Learning Center and Roots Gymnastics building.

“It is anticipated that additional employment opportunities will be created by the remaining phases, but exact quantities are not known at this time,” the project narrative reads.

Bagg anticipates that traffic will be among one of the larger topics of conversation at the proposed site.

“It is important that people understand that the overall project is going to be phased over several years. So while it’s certainly a big project, it’s not going to happen all at once,” he said.

And with the size of the project, Bagg also noted that there will definitely be more than one public hearing to discuss the proposal.

The Planning Board’s first public hearing on the proposal will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.
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