As for the Mother Brook center that will be located in the former Avery school, Hawkins said it would potentially fill several needs of the artist community, providing space for work and exhibitions.
“It feels right for the town, and people really want it,” Hawkins said.
However, some residents were hesitant about the arts and community center, raising concerns that it would not raise revenue for the town.
As part of negotiations, town officials insisted that Mother Brook pay some rent. Other similar spaces, including Emerson center in Concord, have been leased or sold to their host organizations essentially for free, said Ford Webb.
This point extended the negotiations with the town, but Ford Webb said everyone was happy with the agreement that was reached. The organization will pay utility costs in the building and begin paying rent at the space on July 1, 2014.
The 10-year lease agreement stipulates that Mother Brook’s rent will initially be 2.5 percent of revenue collected from artists. That will increase to 5 percent, then 7.5 percent, as the organization becomes more established. In exchange, the town agreed to help the organization with 50 percent of the cost of replacing the building’s boiler.
For McMurtry, the cooperation is one of the reasons he has high hopes for the space.
“I truly believe that for this to be successful, it has to be a partnership,” McMurtry said.
McMurtry, who owns a small art-house movie theater in Dedham Square, said his hope was that the Mother Brook center grows to be a world-class space, something of which the town and the state can be proud.
Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at eisen.globe@- gmail.com.