Route 9 sawmill slated for new life

  • The glowing utility wires at sunset and the lights from passing cars made an interesting scene on Route 9 in Hadley. A rundown old sawmill site off the road will be redeveloped. Gazette Photo/JERREY ROBERTS

For The Recorder
Friday, February 16, 2018

HADLEY — An Amherst developer intends to redevelop a rundown old sawmill site off Route 9 into new buildings for Rao’s Coffee Roasting and a discount tool shop.

Barry Roberts, who recently got a favorable finding from the Zoning Board of Appeals to use the former Kicza Lumber property at 303 Russell St., told the Planning Board at a recent meeting he intends to build two retail buildings on the site.

The buildings would include a 5,000-square-foot Rao’s Coffee Roasting sales and distribution center and a 16,000-square-foot Harbor Freight Tools, a discount tool and equipment retailer that has locations in Springfield and West Springfield. The site is located between Steve Lewis Subaru and TJ’s Taylor Rental.

Tough the site doesn’t have sufficient frontage to meet the town’s current zoning bylaws, the ZBA recently approved a request to allow Roberts to redevelop the parcel. The parcel has just 197 feet of road frontage, 53 feet short of the 250 required by the town.

It’s uncertain how soon the project would begin, but attorney Thomas Reidy said Roberts will submit plans in the near future.

Meantime, W.S. Development of Chestnut Hill, which owns Mountain Farms Mall, is expected to file revised plans for development of parcels near the Route 9 entrance and to make adjustments to the traffic flow through the parking lot.

In 2015, the Planning Board permitted two 11,000-square-foot buildings that would replace the buildings that housed the former Burger King, which closed at the end of 2014, and Florence Savings Bank, which moved in fall 2014.