City of Greenfield Leads a New Vision at Former Wilson's Department Store Site

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner and the city of Greenfield brought together The Community Builders and MassDevelopment in the acquisition and redevelopment of the former Wilson’s Department Store property, originally built in the center of Greenfield in 1882. The redevelopment will create approximately 65 mixed-income rental homes for families and will reactivate prominent first-floor and basement retail spaces through the relocation and expansion of Franklin Community Co-op’s Greenfield store, Green Fields Market.

“The redevelopment of Wilson’s for retail and mixed-income housing is the cornerstone of revitalization of downtown Greenfield that I have been working on since my first day on the job,” said Mayor Wedegartner. "Working with The Community Builders, MassDevelopment and the co-op, along with municipal staff, has been a great partnership. I look forward to other exciting opportunities with them in the near future.”

“In addition to creating much-needed, high-quality housing in Greenfield, relocating and expanding Green Fields Market will provide the community with access to healthy food in an area of Greenfield currently without a full-service grocery store,” said Rachana Crowley, director of real estate development at The Community Builders. “We’re proud to be a part of this team which will create new housing, employment opportunities and invest in a strong and robust Main Street in Greenfield. Special thanks to Mayor Wedegartner and Dan Rivera for their leadership and support.”

One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be available to families with a blend of workforce and income-adjusted units. Residents will benefit from the development’s close proximity to the co-op’s grocery store, healthcare services, a pharmacy, the local YMCA, the public library and open green space. Building on recent public investments on Main Street, the city of Greenfield will be seeking funding for additional upgrades to create a safe, pedestrian and bike-friendly vibrant downtown.

Currently located a block from the Wilson’s site, the relocation and expansion of Green Fields Market will allow the food co-op to better serve a broader and more diverse section of the community, increase local sales and jobs, and continue to invest in the local, sustainable food system. In addition to a larger produce department, the store will include a full-service bakery, deli, meat and seafood departments. The new location will also have a larger, on-site community room that individuals, groups, nonprofits and other organizations can reserve for community gatherings, workshops and events.

John Williams, Franklin Community Cooperative general manager, states, “Thank you to the city of Greenfield for their efforts bringing together The Community Builders, Mass Development, and the co-op and their critical support of the continued revitalization of Greenfield’s historic downtown and this landmark Wilson's Building. They have been an integral partner on this project, and we are grateful for their commitment to bring more housing and a full-service community-focused and owned grocery store to our downtown area.”

“Mixed-use buildings featuring housing and retail are a main ingredient for creating vibrant, walkable downtown neighborhoods,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased that MassDevelopment is able to play a key role advancing efforts to redevelop this historic property to meet the needs of Greenfield today.”

“MassDevelopment is proud to support The Community Builders and the Franklin Community Co-op as they strive to revitalize this historic property on Main Street with mixed-income housing, jobs and an accessible and expanded grocery store,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “This collaborative effort could not be possible without the leadership of the city of Greenfield and the downtown neighborhood.”

The residential redevelopment of the historic property will be financed in part by a combination of federal and state low income housing tax credits, new market tax credits and historic tax credits, pending approvals from relevant state agencies. The city of Greenfield is also investing $300,000 in funds that must be used to create affordable housing. Construction on the co-op is expected in 2023/2024 and the residential construction by 2025/2026.

About The Community Builders
The Community Builders’ mission is to build and sustain strong communities where all people can thrive. Our mission-driven businesses work with partners to develop, finance and operate residential communities, neighborhood amenities and opportunity programs for families, seniors and adults with disabilities. Since 1964, we have advanced housing equity through award-winning affordable and mixed-income communities and our pioneering Community Life model for resident success. Today, our ownership and management portfolio include over 14,000 apartment homes. Anchored by offices in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, New York and Washington D.C., we operate across 15 states.

About the Franklin Community Cooperative
The Franklin Community Cooperative is a local, community-owned grocery store in Franklin County with over 5,500 member-owners. Started as a buying club in 1977, the Montague Food Co-op was the first incarnation of Franklin Community Co-op. Today, the co-op operates two vibrant and thriving markets: Green Fields Market in downtown Greenfield and McCusker’s Market in Shelburne Falls. The co-op is committed to enriching the community and supporting the regional food system through collaborative partnerships with local farmers, co-ops, businesses, and nonprofit organizations; it supports over 220 local suppliers, including 40 local farms, producing $2.6M in local sales in 2021.

About MassDevelopment
MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2022, MassDevelopment financed or managed 356 projects generating investment of more than $1.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 11,080 jobs and build or preserve 1,778 housing units.