ATTLEBORO — The city redevelopment authority plans to close the deal on a $1.63 million sale of 1 1/2 acres of vacant downtown land Wednesday to make way for a large apartment building.
The sale to Marco Crugnale has been delayed for years, first with financing issues and more recently with clearance from the state Department of Transportation.
The agency had to sign a form stipulating that it did not have a railroad easement on the land, which is next to the downtown commuter rail station.
Authority Chairman Richard Correia said he received the signed form from the state agency Tuesday morning after some angry phone calls over the delays.
The 130-unit apartment building, to be called Renaissance Station South, will be built on the corner of Wall and South Main streets.
It will be across Wall Street from another Crugnale creation, Renaissance Station North, which he sold in December of last year for $15.5 million.
City officials have touted the development as a key cog in the revitalization of the city’s downtown, with other projects in the works.
“It certainly will beautify that end of the city and will be a boost to the city economically,” Correia said. “...It will pave the way for more growth in Attleboro.”
Mayor Paul Heroux said the sale’s completion will come just two days after he and state legislators met with proponents of another downtown project, the rehabilitation of 37 Union St.
A developer wants to turn that shuttered mill building into more housing. It is only a short walk to the train station.
City officials are using the downtown rail service as a draw for new residences for people who want to commute to Boston.
The hope is bringing people to live in the downtown area will create a demand for shops, restaurants and services.
“I’m very please ARA has once again come through for the city,” Heroux said, pointing out that the authority members are unpaid volunteers.
He said the benefits to the city from the development will be “priceless” and credited Correia with getting the deal done.
Correia said the closing of the deal took so long there were times the authority was tempted to “pull the plug” on it and look for a new developer.
But, he said the proposed project was a good one and the mayor allowed the authority to be patient.
“It was a long and winding road,” he said.