The ongoing demolition of the former Bedford Glen Hotel at 44 Middlesex Turnpike has enriched the town’s treasury by $360,000.
Christopher Laskey, the town’s Director of Code Enforcement, explained Thursday that the fee for tearing down a building is $20 per $1,000 of valuation, as stated on the Assessing Department property database.
“The typical scenario is an old single-story house or a Cape getting demolished, and the building has a valuation of $80,000 – not a big deal,” Laskey said. That would require a demolition fee of $1,600.
The hotel was valued at $18 million.
Laskey said the permit was issued on Nov. 29, and the demolition contractor “jumped on this very quickly.”
The Covid-19 pandemic gutted business at the 281-room hotel, which opened in 1980 as a Stouffer’s and depended to a great degree on clientele connected to nearby technology businesses.
The hotel, most recently a DoubleTree, closed almost a year ago. The property was sold in April for $37,250,000, according to the assessors’ database.
The current owner, Camber Development, is planning two buildings totaling 294,000 square feet of space designed for life-sciences businesses. The Bedford Planning Board has approved a site plan for the proposed development.
“We sat down with them to see what the project was like,” Laskey said. “I don’t think there’s an application to build yet. They have to clear the space to get utilities in the ground.”
The demolition fee schedule was set in January 2003, said Laskey, who noted that he joined the town staff in February 2003.
He pointed out that demolition of a large commercial building is unusual. Although there has been a lot of redevelopment in the commercial sector, he said, that primarily is being reflected in new construction or gutting and refitting of existing structures.
There’s a process leading to a demolition permit, involving several municipal departments, that is intended to ensure safety, Laskey explained. The steps are applicable to every structure.
The Fire Department checks for flammable and hazardous materials, the Department of Public Works makes sure the water is shut off and the sewer connection capped; and building inspectors ensure proper disposal of asbestos and lead when applicable. From the owner, Laskey said, “We get documentation that utilities are shut off.”