Grand plans for East Wareham
While Notos Group developer Tom O’Connell says he doesn’t know exactly what he wants to build on land up for rezoning at the Jan. 16 Special Town Meeting, he knows whatever it is will be big.
O’Connell hopes that the proposed “Economic Opportunity District,” which he claims will “invite incredible opportunities for the future,” will receive the ⅔ vote needed to pass at Town Meeting. Critics have decried the overlay district’s large size, a lack of clarity within the proposal, and the ties to the Wareham Park casino proposal, which O’Connell has not sworn off.
Right now, he said, the only legally permissible use for the 275-acre parcel of land on Glen Charlie Road in East Wareham, abutting Route 25 is housing. If the zoning change passes, O’Connell said, he will sit down with his team and discuss what it “wants to be.”
He noted that in the middle of the pandemic, with its destabilizing impact on the economy, it’s hard to say what kind of uses would work well. He said it would be “disingenuous” to talk about particular uses for the Wareham site, which is currently under agreement with the Notos Group.
O’Connell was definite about the scale of the development, however: “You’re building roads, you’re bringing in infrastructure, you’re tying in sewer. There’s multiple phases. There’s a master plan that takes years to build out. So the scope of this is enormous - like Granite Links, like Marina Bay.”
Granite Links and Marina Bay are two large developments in Quincy: a 27-hole golf course with restaurants and event venues, and a mixed-use development that includes five housing complexes, an assisted-living home, restaurants, offices, a marina, and a boardwalk.
O’Connell said that he hopes to bring a project as large as his previous work to Wareham, although the specific uses will likely be different.
O’Connell also responded to concerns about his character, brought up by stories shared on social media about crimes committed by his uncle, William O’Connell, and his brother Robert. He said those acts have nothing to do with him or his company.
“The character and the moral compass is part of the package. You will get a high, high level of integrity with [the Notos Group]... We have surrounded ourselves with people of the highest caliber,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell encouraged those with questions to contact him at www.thenotosgroup.com