AMESBURY — Although Phase 1 of the $70 million Maples Crossing sports complex broke ground last month, the city and the state are already making way for Phase 2 with the announcement of a $2 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to further improve the South Hunt Road area.
Global Property Developers Inc. of Bridgewater broke ground on the project Sept. 26. Phase 1 of the project calls for building a 410,000-square-foot, six-rink, ice hockey complex that would include training facilities, a restaurant and a function room.
In October 2018, the city received a $2.5 million MassWorks grant for the modernization, improvement and expansion of infrastructure along the South Hunt Road corridor, including improvements to Route 150 and South Hunt Road, to accommodate the project’s first phase.
Phase 2 of the project will include a 135,000-square-foot office building and a hotel with approximately 190 rooms, according to Maples Crossing project manager Michael Gorman.
Mayor Ken Gray said Monday the state has also awarded the city an additional $2 million in MassWorks grant funding to accommodate Phase 2.
“Phase 1 is the hockey complex, this one is for Phase 2, which is the hotel and office that is following it,” Gray said. “We don’t know who the hotel developer is yet or where the office building is going to be but we want to put in the traffic infrastructure because we know that we are going to have to handle more traffic.”
Gray said the state’s most recent grant will go toward widening South Hunt Road as well as adding two 5-foot-wide shoulders, a 5-foot-wide sidewalk and increasing the drainage infrastructure.
“This is widening South Hunt Road, putting sidewalks in and bike paths,” Gray said. “This will enable multimodal transportation in that area. It’s not just for cars.”
Gray said the infrastructure improvements are designed to accommodate not only Maples Crossing but The Heights Amesbury apartment complex and The Village at Bailey’s Pond condominium complex, which is under construction.
“When you come off of I-495 to get to South Hunt Road, you have to take a right and then a quick left,” Gray said. “That will all be straightened out as a part of this plan. That is the biggest, single element of this. People will be able to go from Bailey’s Pond and bike, walk or whatever up to Maples Crossing.”
Gray said he was grateful to the Baker administration for its support.
“It is wonderful that the state recognizes the potential in Amesbury and recognizing how important this project is regionally and for our entire region,” Gray said. “This is the nexus between their investment, the city’s investment and private investment.”
Gorman was also happy with the news Monday.
“It is always great to see the city and the state work in unison with a private enterprise to accomplish its goals,” Gorman said. “We are happy this came through and we are happy it will give us an opportunity to further connect the dots between the community and our campus.”
Maples Crossing will be built at 24 South Hunt Road and Global Property Developers Inc. also bought the adjoining New England Sports Park at 12 and 14 South Hunt Road for $2.7 million last month.
“We are getting our feet wet on that property and understanding what needs to be accomplished there,” Gorman said.
To see the South Hunt Road area district improvement program website, go to www.amesburyma.gov/community-economic-development/pages/district-improvement-program-south-hunt-area-projects.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.