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Sutton primed to be a center of commercial activity

By Rod Lee

Jennifer Hager who is director of planning for the town of Sutton can hardly contain her excitement in talking about projects on the drawing board that will further strengthen the community’s efforts to encourage economic development.

Ms. Hager was particularly enthused the afternoon of November 13th in revealing that Primetals Technologies USA LLC is relocating its operations from Worcester to land straddling Northbridge and Sutton.

Armed with a tax increment financing (TIF) deal and “a significant Mass Works grant for gas-line expansion,” Primetals will be setting up shop on a site that extends from “Border St. in Northbridge across the Causeway to Gilmore Drive in Sutton,” Ms. Hager said while discussing the initiative from her desk in an office located on the second floor of Sutton Town Hall on Uxbridge Road.

The approximate $2.5 million project will result in construction of an 183,000-square-foot building and provide employment for about 275 people “most of whom will be retained” from Primetals Technologies’ two locations on Crescent St. and Prescott St. in Worcester, Ms. Hager said.

Getting Primetals Technologies is something of a coup for the town of Sutton. A young company, formed in January of 2015 by Siemens VAI Metal Technologies and Mitsubishi-Hitachi Metals Machinery, Primetals Technologies had indicated that same year through its HR Director Russell H. Vanderbaan that despite an initial layoff of forty-two workers caused by a cyclical downturn for the equipment it manufactures for steel mills it was determined to grow and to remain committed to the city of Worcester.

Instead, it is “consolidating and expanding” in Sutton. Ms. Hager said the TIF was approved by the Sutton Planning Board “in about six weeks” and that Primetals Technologies’ management would like to begin construction “imminently” with a goal of being “in” by summer or early fall of 2019.

This building, now under construction as part of Phase 3 of the Pleasant Valley Crossing project, will be home to several tenants when completed.

Sutton’s ambitions are apparent as well in a continuing concentration on the expansion of the Pleasant Valley Crossing shopping plaza, where “a new site plan” for Phase 2 (unfortunately not to include a Lowe’s) is in the offing while an 18,000-square-foot multi-tenant building as part of Phase 3 undergoes construction near the northern entrance to the plaza. Already, Ms. Hager said, “a dialysis center” and “indoor play space” are expected to fill two of the slots there “and there is a separate pad for a 5000-square-foot restaurant” with seating for 150 people.

Also, Aggregate Industries’ nearly 400 acres on Providence Rd. (Rt. 122A) in Northeast Sutton is a state-designated development site, with future uses still to be determined.

Even though only about two miles of a six-mile stretch of Rt. 146 is developable because of curb-cut restrictions, a lack of sewer and water and steeply sloped terrain and a stream, Sutton keeps pushing to attract new business. Luring companies like Primetals Technologies will help the town realize one of its major goals which is an influx of “restaurants,” Ms. Hager said.

“We are trying to work economic development from all angles,” she said.

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.