The Fitchburg city council unanimously approved a redevelopment resolution Tuesday night that calls for a possible condemnation of the Ridgewood Apartments, and may use tax increment financing to support improvements.
The full board heard from all commissions and committees that recommended the resolutions approval.
With the approval, developer Gary Gorman has been given the greenlight, and the city can now move forward with mapping out the development area.
Gorman is expected to begin looking for architects and designers for the $34.5 million project.
One counsel member who introduced the resolution says he very excited to finally move forward. "It's good to be, instead of reactive to problems at Ridgewood, to finally start to do some things a little more proactively. It's a long process, it's going to take a lot of time. We need to engage as many people as we can. We need to especially reach out to that neighborhood and the neighborhoods that surround it, both business and residential, but yeah, it is good to finally do something," says Fitchburg Alder Tom Darcy.
The complex has been plagued by maintenance problems and frequent fires. Darcy says they plan to eventually replace the entire Ridgewood region.
Gorman must move on his option to buy by April. The project is expected to be completed sometime in the next four to eight years.
Now Darcy says he doesn't expect the project to cost Fitchburg taxpayers that much. But the hidden cost is forcing the residents of more than 850 apartments to move out starting sometime next year.