By Adam Silva
An informational meeting to discuss the future of The Hanover Mall will be held Thursday, Aug. 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the former JCPenney location inside the mall.
The meeting has been rescheduled twice, with a first attempt on April 26 and the most recent attempt on Aug. 9. The latter was postponed as it was scheduled on the same day at the wake for slain Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna, a Hanover resident, at St. Mary’s Church in Hanover.
Representatives from PREP, the Cincinnati-based company that owns the mall, will be on hand on Thursday. PREP, which stands for Peco Real Estate Partners, purchased the mall in 2016.
“The whole purpose of this meeting is to give an update on the project and show people the updated site plan,” said PREP Vice President of Development Lloyd Sova back in April before the first attempt of the meeting was scheduled. “We want to answer any questions [residents] have. The reaction to the housing plan has been mixed. There are a lot of assumptions that people have and we want to clear up any misconceptions and people can ask us questions directly.”
The proposal to change the indoor Hanover Mall to the outdoor Hanover Crossing shopping center, similar to Derby Street Shoppes and The Launch, both in Hingham, is in the developmental stages.
Thursday’s meeting will include a discussion on how the project will affect schools, water, traffic and a new wastewater treatment plant that would be on the property.
If the plans stay the way they are, the proposed housing component of the property would consist of 297 units of upscale, predominately one-and two-bedroom apartments that PREP says will appeal to millennials and empty nesters. Ten percent of the units will be rented under the affordable housing standards that will enable the town to continue to meet its 10 percent Chapter 40B state requirement.
The housing project is not a part of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) that Hanover residents voted on in June 2017 and would in fact result in and additional $800,000-to-$900,000 in estimated taxes for the town, according to PREP.
“If we had known what our housing component was going to be, we would have included it in the TIF,” said Sova. “We do not know what the area will consist of exactly, with office buildings, hotel, multi-family or assisted living.”
Standalone stores not physically connected to the mall are expected to stay the way they are, such as Trader Joe’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The future of the mall’s anchor stores, Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Sears, is very much up in the air. Currently, PREP has two plans; one with Sears and one without, due to the amount of stores the company has closed.
The mall is located at 1775 Washington St., Hanover.