SMOC buys 5-acre parcel from NStar Saturday, August 13, 2005
Jennifer Kavanaugh 508-626-4416 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- The social services agency SMOC says it can start planning for its future headquarters in more concrete terms, now that its $2.3 million purchase of nearby land has gone through.

The South Middlesex Opportunity Council recently completed a deal to buy about 5 acres from NStar, and plans to build a new headquarters when it eventually moves from its Howard Street location, said Gerard Desilets, SMOC's planning director.

SMOC has not yet drawn up actual plans for the new headquarters, Desilets said, but wants to tear down the existing NStar building on nearby Blandin Street and build anew.

"It's a great opportunity to have a modern, new facility in downtown Framingham," Desilets said.  "I think it will be a great thing for both SMOC and downtown Framingham."

Though SMOC's lease for its offices within the Dennison complex still has a half decade to go, the agency has been looking for a new home given landlord Rosewood Development's plans to redevelop the building as housing, into 75 one- and two-bedroom units. Desilets said that knowledge made SMOC speed up its process for finding a new home.

"Obviously we decided we needed to think about our future," Desilets said.  Within the next 18 months, he said, the agency hopes have more detailed plans in place.

In planning for the NStar property, SMOC made an arrangement with the Great Brook Valley Health Center to provide off-site parking for employees of the health center, on the part of the property nearest Taylor Street.

The parking arrangement is part of a plan to move the health center from Concord Street to 380 Waverley St.  But the relocation plan has been scrutinized by the Planning Board in recent months, partly because SMOC did not yet own the property, and board members wanted a guarantee that the extra parking would be provided.

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