Apartment complex planned for South Hadley shopping plaza


  • The former site of Big Y supermarket at Woodlawn Shopping Plaza, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/12/2019 11:56:24 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — The owners of the Woodlawn Shopping Plaza on Newton Street plan to add a four-story apartment complex at the site of the former Big Y as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the plaza.

The complex will include 72 mixed-income apartments available as one-, two- and three-bedroom units, according to an announcement sent out by the plaza’s management Wednesday.

The 3-acre site will also feature a community room, a laundry room, a property management office, a lawn, bike racks, benches and tables, 115 parking spaces and other sections for resident activities.

The plaza is co-owned by Rocco Falcone, president of Rocky’s Ace Hardware; Peter Picknelly, CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines; and Andy Yee, owner of several Pioneer Valley restaurants. The group is known as South Hadley Plaza LLC.

The project will likely not begin construction until next year, Falcone told the Gazette.

Falcone did not yet have an exact estimate for the cost of the complex, but said that it is part of a “multimillion-dollar project.”

The owners intend to add a new 12,000- to 15,000-square-foot Rocky’s Ace Hardware to the site of the former Big Y, Falcone said, which would then free the current Rocky’s space at the plaza for additional retail tenants.

The plaza’s previous owners, South Hadley Limited Partnership, filed for bankruptcy in 2015, two years after the former Big Y at the property closed. South Hadley Plaza LLC purchased the plaza for $2.4 million in May 2016 and had the Big Y demolished in 2018 after the owners could not find another supermarket to occupy the space, which Falcone said was the group’s original preference.

The plaza is part of the Newton Street Smart Growth Zoning District. In accordance with state legislation, at least 20 percent of housing units in a smart growth overlay district must qualify as affordable housing.

“When we heard the town talking about an overlay district, that’s where we thought about residential, and we thought that would make sense,” Falcone said.

Owners aim to submit a plan approval application to the town later in the summer, according to the announcement.

MBL Housing and Development LLC has been selected as the residential project’s consultant.

Woodlawn Shopping Plaza is also home to Dunkin’ Donuts, Egg & I, Dollar General, Mandarin Gourmet, General Cleaners, a U.S. military recruiting office, and Parthenon Restaurant.

An informational public meeting will be held June 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the South Hadley Public Library.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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