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Ashland - Local Town Pages

5 stories, 250 units, proposed for 10-60 Main Street

The proposed “Sanctuary at Ashland Mills,” looking northeast. Source:

By Theresa Knapp

An applicant frustrated with the planning board process to renovate 10-60 Main Street has withdrawn his application and has now filed an affordable housing application with the state. 

At the Ashland Select Board meeting on April 3, Town Manager Michael Herbert gave an update on a project called “The Sanctuary at Ashland Mills.”  

“The general public probably does not know that we received notification from MassHousing that the owner of the mill site, Rich Gordon, has partnered with a developer to do a 40B project over at the mill site,” said Herbert. 

The proposed site plan for “Sanctuary at Ashland Mills” at 10-60 Main Street. Source:


The applicant was previously working with the Planning Board regarding a renovation of the two most northern and historic buildings and the addition of three new buildings along Main Street to provide 30,000 square feet of commercial space, 200 apartment units, and 378 parking spaces, according to documents found at 

The original project was scaled back at the town’s request, but at the April meeting, Herbert said, “They were frustrated with that process so withdrew their application and now they’re submitting a 40B [affordable housing] application.” The application has been submitted to the state and will later be filed with the town. 

During its review, MassHousing solicits comments from the community. Ashland residents are encouraged to submit their comments using this form before May 28. 

The town has limited oversight over affordable housing applications, and the process has fewer hurdles for a developer. 

According to the project narrative filed with the state (and available at, “The design maintains and restores the two northernmost mills, converting the space to commercial and retail uses, some of which will be open to the public, including approximately 7,500 sf of flexible open space. The remaining brick structures on site will be replaced with a single 4 and 5-story multifamily residential building containing 250 apartment units with 337 concealed podium parking spaces in addition to the surface parking spaces.” Total acreage of the site is two acres. 

Herbert described the project as “very generic looking” and board members acknowledged their influence over how the building looks “is long gone.” 

Board members have concerns about traffic, building scale, and form-based zoning, and said they would have more to say at their April 17 meeting when the issue will be on the agenda and the public can provide feedback. That meeting occurred after press time.  

Select Board member Brandi Kinsman acknowledged the community pushback during the planning board process for the original project, adding “This is what happens; you end up with something that’s bigger than anyone wanted, and you have no control over it. And it’s 250 units and very little commercial, and the scale - five stories - there’s three-bedroom units in this thing. It’s huge! So, this is what happens when you say ‘no.’ People say, ‘Oh, you should just say ‘no,’ this is what happens when you say ‘no.’”

Herbert advised the board he told the developer this would not be a “friendly 40B,” a term given to projects with local support due to the contribution it can make to the community. 

Editor’s note: The property address is sometimes referred to as 10-60 Main Street or 10-50 Main Street. The proposed address of the complex is 50 Main Street.