Manchester-By-The-Sea Plans for CST Facility Expansion

In a recent meeting of the Manchester-By-The-Sea Planning Board, the focal point of discussions was the application by Cell Signaling Technology (CST) for the construction of a substantial office and research and development facility at the Atwater AB site. The 260,000 square foot expansion is projected to increase local employment opportunities, with an estimated 175 to 200 jobs created in phase one and potentially 500 jobs by the completion of phase two. The board also addressed other development matters, including earth removal for a property on Smith Point Road and Approval Not Required (ANR) plans for a property on School Street and PlHill Road.

The CST facility expansion drew discussion due to the company’s reputation for environmental and social responsibility. Founded 25 years ago, CST has grown to employ roughly 700 individuals worldwide, with a substantial presence in Massachusetts. The firm has a vested interest in enabling personalized medicine and commits 1% of its top-line revenue to environmental and social initiatives through the 1% for the Planet membership. The proposed Manchester-By-The-Sea site is intended to alleviate capacity limitations faced at CST’s other locations in Danvers and Beverly.

The project presentation detailed a holistic development approach, encompassing the company’s mission and the impact of the new facility on the local and wider scientific community. Various aspects of the project were outlined, including the architectural design, which features a central area dubbed the Cliff Gran, along with cascading cubes, granite bases, and a palette incorporating copper tones. Emphasis was placed on sustainable construction practices, with plans for rooftop solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and advanced glass technology. The aim is to achieve LEED certification, focusing on occupant health and well-being.

Landscape planning proposals involve restoring the site’s New England grassland habitat and incorporating native vegetation, with the collaboration of an ecologist to develop the plant palette. The plans also highlight the intention to maintain a connection with the Trustees of Reservations and to establish a trailhead and community garden spaces.

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The board engaged in discussions about the master plan for the Atwater AB site, scrutinizing details such as the layout, building locations, and the stormwater system. Questions were raised concerning the environmental and community impacts, the number of employees, electric capacity, visibility from Route 128, and the project’s construction schedule. The board resolved to maintain a high-level discussion to aid public understanding.

Public comments varied, with residents expressing both support for the project’s potential benefits to the town and the need for public engagement, especially regarding the LEED application process. The planning board decided to continue the public hearing to a future date, allowing for further review and public input.

In addition to the CST project, the board deliberated on earth removal on Smith Point Road, where Chief Fitzgerald recommended a police detail to monitor the speed of trucks transporting fill. The board approved the permit with conditions, including a preconstruction meeting with the chief and contractor, as well as erosion control measures.

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The board also reviewed ANR plans for a property on School Street and PlHill Road. The 155 School Street ANR involved reconfiguring the plot line to accommodate housing plans, which the board endorsed after examining the lot line movements and setbacks. The ANR for a property on PlHill Road, which aimed to create two lots with the necessary frontage, was approved. The board clarified that both lots would have frontage on Summer Street, with the existing driveway on Ancient County Way preserved for access.

Further topics discussed included the need to evaluate overlay districts in the downtown area, the accuracy of information presented in the Town Administrator’s blog regarding the MBTA, and an update on the upcoming Harbor input gathering event by Urban Harbors. Public comments addressed property development, zoning, parking issues, and non-compliant building activities.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Town Administrator:
Gregory Federspiel
Planning Board Officials:
Sarah Creighton, Christine Delisio, Mary M. Foley, Susan Philbrick, Ronald Mastrogiacomo, Christopher Olney, Laura L.Tenny, Marc Resnick (Director of Land Management), Gail Hunter (Administrative Assistant)

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