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Former Chester College site sitting largely due to lack of interest

CHESTER — After it was sold in 2012 because of financial problems, the fate of the former Chester College site remains uncertain.

A division of People's United Bank purchased the property at an auction sale in February, according to officials.

A private developer and a Derry church expressed interest in the property at the auction, but chose not to purchase it then.

There hasn’t been much activity since the auction, said Cynthia Robinson, planning coordinator.

An electronics manufacturer had purchased one lot of a two-lot subdivision on the former property at the end of last year, Robinson said. The remaining parcel remains unsold, she said.

The approximately 68-acre parcel that was purchased by the bank is being marketed by the NAI Norwood Group of Bedford, said Chris Norwood, of NAI.

Since February, there has been interest from various groups, including some educational organizations, Norwood said, adding that educational use is allowed by right.

Last year, local developer Peter Smith proposed converting the former campus into senior housing.

The plan called for converting two dormitories to house 36 two-bedroom units for the elderly. The proposal would have also included three single family lots for sale and would leave approximately 37 acres reserved for conservation land.

Smith appeared before the planning board to present the proposed development, which would have required a number of variances to be completed.

But Smith has since walked away from the project because of cost and other factors, such as the number of variances that would have to be obtained, Robinson said.

Trace Adkins
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