IS TEXTRON LEAVING WILMINGTON? An Announcement On Site’s Future Is Expected Soon

WILMINGTON, MA — The Textron site, located at 201 Lowell Street, continues to be one of the most talked about properties in town.

During a recent discussion on locations for a potential ice rink in town, Textron was mentioned.

“When I was Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, I think every month we made a call to Textron’s real estate company in Rhode Island to try and get that piece of property that’s now overgrown with weeds,” said Vice Chair Kevin Caira at this month’s Ice Rink & Recreational Facility Committee Meeting. “I’m telling you, we tried our darnedest to get that property to connect with Yentile. They just don’t want to sell it at this point and time, but we’re still working on it. Why pay taxes on that land? Let us buy it and put it to good use. They might. They might not.”

During a recent discussion on locations for a potential splash pad in town, Textron was – again – mentioned.

“The Town Manager approaches Textron every three months or so,” said Wilmington Recreation Director Karen Campbell at this month’s Recreation Commission Meeting. “[Town Manager Hull] has developed quite a relationship with their company’s property guy at this point. Mr. Hull asks if they’re interested in selling the portion of their property contiguous to Yentile. The part they’ve completely let go. Their reply has continued to be no. It is very, very valuable land after all.”

“If some of the Textron land ever became available that was contiguous to Yentile, that would be plenty big enough for a splash pad. But right now, Textron is a no go,” added Campbell.

“That’s too bad,” responded Recreation Commissioner Charlie Biondo. “We should go after that land and grab it for town use…. It’s become an eye sore. The weeds are so high. It looks like a dump.”

Textron also comes up at Selectmen’s meetings on a fairly regular basis. Several Selectmen raised alarm bells during a recent discussion on economic development with then Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash.

Textron laid off approximately 200 employees in 2016 and another 50 in 2017. After multiple rounds of downsizing over the years, very few employees remain at the once bustling Wilmington site.

“We have a 60-acre parcel of land, Textron, that’s downsized to about 50 people now,” said Selectman Kevin Caira last September. “This is going to be a concern for the community — how will that property get developed in the future if [Textron] decides to sell?”

“We don’t know what’s happening at this point in time with Textron. Town officials are having discussions with them to understand where they’re at,” added Caira. “But it’s 60 acres smack dab in a very attractive spot, right off of 93.”

“Textron has made indications they’re going to be around for another 1-1.5 years,” said Selectman Greg Bendel last October. Bendel noted Town Manager Hull updates board members on the status of Textron on a regular basis.

Wilmington Apple recently reached out to Textron inquiring about their future in town.

“Our Wilmington leadership team continues to be in regular contact with local government on long-term plans for the property,” confirmed Beth Magalhaes, Manager of Corporate Communications for Textron. “The team hopes to share more with the community on long-term plans for the site in the coming months.”

With $143.5 million in municipal and school facility improvement costs (including a new Senior Center and new joint School Admin/Town Hall building that likely wouldn’t be built on their current sites), affordable housing needs for seniors, veterans and young adults; and hopes of an ice rink and splash pad in Wilmington, the town intends to continue to pursue the Textron property, which may be available to purchase sooner rather than later.

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One thought

  1. Was the new high school built “as small as it is” in order to secure state funding for the project? The town’s building needs aren’t new, so I’d imagine that building a bigger high school was discussed at one point. Perhaps the state wouldn’t have paid for about half of the new high school if the building was also built to include central administration space?

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