The old Regal Cinema is located at 231 Turnpike Road. (Photo/Tami White)

WESTBOROUGH – Three proposals, three different concepts for former Regal cinemas.

At its Sept. 6 meeting, the select committee heard presentations about what could be done for the 231 Turnpike Road site, which has been vacant since 2017.

The city acquired the theater earlier this year by foreclosure, and the city assembly voted to transfer the property to the Select Board for disposal this spring.

A commercial “hive” on the Regal Cinemas website

First – Ferris Development Group LLC in Southborough. CEO David Ferris envisions a “hive” where local entrepreneurs can network, stockpile materials and engage with potential customers.

“We’re taking an outdated asset in a sleepy part of town” and repurposing it, said Ferris, whose company has converted several office buildings in the area. This includes a building in Southborough which is now a data center.

Ferris said the site could support 50 to 100 tenants, from contractors to merchants.

“The demand is exaggerated for this,” he said.

The curtain rises again

LAX Media MA LLC, the parent company of Apple Cinemas, wants to repurpose the Regal Cinemas site into an entertainment hub.

The company’s co-founders, Jegan Gomangalam and Udayana Kotta, said they would like to renovate “about 70%” of the building. The proposed center would include 12 cinema screens with laser projection, reclining seats, an interior patio and lounge area, a new kitchen and a full bar.

Kotta said that after coping with the pandemic for the past two years, “we need a place to get out of the house, have a coffee, chat with friends…”

Since opening its first cinema in 2013, the East Walpole-based company has rolled back the curtain on 12 other cinemas, including Cambridge and Warwick, RI. They plan to open six more cinemas in the near future.

In addition, the company offers parking lots for EVs and parking lots for bicycles.

Pulte offers 108 condos

Mark Mastroianni of Pulte Homes of New England LLC in Westborough proposed a three-unit complex, with three floors and 36 units each, for a total of 108 condo units.

“We see tremendous opportunity for this site,” he said. “This is smart growth at its best.”

Plans call for the condos to be all-electric, with LED lighting, low-output light fixtures, and recycling facilities for each unit.

The condos would be sold as residential units. Mastroianni said there would be a lease option, with a one-year lease requirement.

Mastroianni estimated there could be 12 more students. A member of the select committee questioned this estimate, saying that for projects in other communities, the estimate was three to four times higher.

Housing development among proposals for former Westborough Regal cinemas
A rendering of the proposed project by Pulte on the old Regal Cinemas site. (Screenshot/WestboroughTV)

Next steps for the Regal Cinemas site

All three projects want to take advantage of amenities currently on or near the site, from local businesses to Charm Bracelet trail systems.

Sustainability was a key requirement of the RFP, and all three plans call for the installation of solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations and other energy-efficient equipment.

Going forward, the select committee will review and evaluate each proposal, then discuss its findings and award the bid, either at its next meeting or the one that follows. This means the Select Board can make a decision on former Regal Cinemas ownership this month.

Watch the full presentations via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO6nT6JwvNI.

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