Redevelopment Authority takes charge of Tremont Nail Factory District

May 9, 2018

Selectmen no longer manage the historic Tremont Nail Factory District after handing control over to the town’s Redevelopment Authority Board.

On Tuesday, Selectmen approved the measure, saying the authority will devote time and resources to making the property a vibrant destination.

“This is simply to get this off our plates,” said Selectman Peter Teitelbaum. “The Redevelopment Authority will start working on getting more events there and see if people are interested in using the space.”

The town-owned, 7.2-acre site is located on Elm Street. The Tremont Nail Company, which since 1819 had manufactured cut nails and other products, sold the site to Wareham in 2004. It was purchased using Community Preservation Act funds. The act is a Massachusetts law that allows participating cities and towns to adopt a real estate tax surcharge, supplemented by state matching funds in order to fund community preservation.

Since then, the property has languished, attracting few tenants and drawing ire from residents tired of town funds being used to maintain the eight buildings on the property. That started to change last year.

In 2017, it was announced that MassDevelopment awarded the town $50,000 to study potential uses for the site.

Since then, officials have worked to use the main building on the site. Last August, a gala, “Meet Me at the Tremont,” was held to showcase the property. Other events, such as a classic car show, have also been held there to highlight the property’s potential.

Under state law, redevelopment authorities may rehabilitate blighted areas for industrial, commercial, residential, recreational and other uses. Authorities also give loans to businesses looking to open in town, provided they meet certain criteria. The process to establish Wareham’s authority started in January with state legislation and was recently finalized.

Selectmen were first given control of the property in 2004 via a vote at Town Meeting.