Closed concrete plant sold

  • The former Bill Willard Inc. concrete plant at 303 King St. in Northampton was recently purchased by Colvest Northampton LLC for $2,250,600. The 2.9 acres of commercially-zoned property is near the intersection of Barrett Street and is adjacent to Northampton Crossing at 325 King St. Gazette Photo/Kevin Gutting

For The Recorder
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — A Springfield development company that overhauled the former Hill & Dale Mall on King Street has bought the shuttered Bill Willard Inc. concrete plant next door with the intent of building more office or retail space along the city’s largest commercial strip.

The Colvest Group closed Jan. 10 on a roughly $2.25 million deal to buy the 3-acre parcel at 303 King St., where the Willards ran the concrete plant for decades before closing in 2016.

With the purchase of the Willard property, Colvest now owns about 9 connected acres on King Street.

Five years ago, the company converted the 62,000-square-foot former supermarket at 327 King St. into Northampton Crossing. That development includes Pioneer Valley Family Medicine, a Baystate Health affiliate, and Greenfield Savings Bank.

Colvest also owns a parcel at 301 King St. where Papa Gino’s used to operate until a year ago.

Frank Colaccino, CEO and founder of The Colvest Group, said the company bought the Willard site to enhance Northampton Crossing.

“It was right next door,” he said.

Colaccino said the first order of business will be to clean up the former industrial site.

“At least make the site look presentable,” he said.

Colaccino said the buildings at the rear of the property will be taken down, although a building at the front of the property may be kept standing.

He also said plans will be made over six to nine months to determine how the property will be developed, and that it will be used for either office or retail space.

“It bodes well in terms of their track record in Northampton,” said Mayor David Narkewicz, who announced his approval of the sale on Twitter Monday morning.

Narkewicz noted that the city is always looking to expand its commercial tax base, which takes some of the burden off residential taxpayers.

Colvest operates in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

“This is right in our back yard,” Colaccino said of the decision to expand into the city.

The Willards have a history in the city that stretches back nearly 100 years. Founded in 1920, the company became a successful player in the concrete business.

“Most of Northampton has some of our concrete,” said Don Willard III, one of the owners of the company.

The Willards opted to sell the property after family members decided to go their separate ways. It shut down first its concrete and then its sand and gravel operations toward the end of 2016.

“Northampton’s always been really nice to us,” Willard said.

Another parcel that Bill Willard Inc. has sold is a 49-acre property off Glendale Road, which is being developed into the Waggin’ Trails Dog Park.