After a permitting process that stretched over five years, ground has finally been broken on a planned eight-home development on the site of the former Wayside Florists on Old Bedford Road in Concord.
"We're now removing the greenhouses by hand to protect the land from broken glass," said Voldemaras Kanchas, chief executive officer of the International Development Corporation, which is developing the property. "We are also in the process of soil remediation."
Kanchas and his partners first began trying to purchase the property from former owner Wayne Busa in 2005. Permitting lasted until September of last year, and Kanchas said that some permits, such as for water and sewer connections, have not yet been issued.
"We are hoping to be able to build at least a model home unit this year, and lay the foundations for the other homes," Kanchas said. "If all goes well, we would like to have the homes completed within two years."
Kanchas said the homes in the development will average around 3,500 square feet and cost around $1 million, depending on how the market fluctuates. The total size of the property is 6.9 acres, around 4 of which are buildable. The rest is wetlands and conservation land.
"The town had very strict restrictions, but I believe the development will in the long run be a good thing for the town," Kanchas said. "The land and development are a big investment for us, and we are taking them very seriously."
According to Concord Planning Director Marie Rasmussen, developments like Kanchas's are part of a larger trend that affects Concord and other communities.
"For the last 20 years or so we've seen a trend of farms and rural land being sold and developed," Rasmussen said. "Mostly, it's cases where the property's owners are getting older and maybe don't have children that want to carry on the tradition."
Rasmussen said the town tries to keep in contact with all the owners of agricultural property in town to discuss any sales decisions.
"We keep them under observation," Rasmussen said.
Sarah Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.