SWL: Selectmen approve $21K bid to buy and restore Fayville Hall

The Town will move forward to sell Fayville Hall for $21K to a developer who will restore it to a vintage early 1900s look.

As I posted on Friday, developer Jon Delli Priscoli (owner of the Burnett Estate) responded to the RFP to sell Fayville Hall. Based on push back from Town Meeting voters, selectmen had agreed to seek to preserve the building rather than pursuing the highest bid. Based on Town’ needs, they also sought to retain parking access for the playground and baseball diamond across the way. Priscolli’s bid addressed both concerns. 

According to Southborough Wicked Local, selectmen put their stamp of a approval on the sole bid last night. SWL writes:

Selectmen unanimously voted Monday night to approve a bid by Jon Delli Priscoli to buy the property with plans to open an antique shop and fine arts gallery. In the sole bid, he offered $21,000, but will spend a significant amount of money to restore the property. . . 

The bid includes the hall, 42 Central St., valued at $346,600 and a parking lot, 40 Central St., valued at $172,500, according to town assessors records. . .

[Delli Priscoli] said the property has “little to no value” unless the building is torn down.

“There is a tremendous amount of work that that building needs,” he said. “The work will exceed the value of the building.” . . .

He said the project will have little impact on the town’s infrastructure and will remain on the tax rolls.

To read the full article click here.

(photo by Beth Melo)

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my town sb southborough
5 years ago

[Edited by commenter’s request to remove words not meant to be there.]
Citizens of Southborough: Hear ye, hear ye: The following is what you need to know.

Per State Law, the town CANNOT LEGALLY SELL a property without a current (not over two years old, in this case, Feb 2016) valuation / appraisal based on all applicable current zoning. In this case, the old appraisal does not address retail use because it was written before the new applicable (adaptive re-use) bylaw passed in 2017, and the resulting old prior value is based on the old previous zoning. A new valuation / appraisal is REQUIRED BY LAW based on updated zoning / bylaws etc, which in turn would reflect a new value based on new allowed uses.

In other words, this building which was zoned for residential (and valued under previous zoning assumption), now has the potential to be retail (among other possible uses) and must be valued based on new zoning assumptions.

It looks like this property is being sold without a current, relevant, appropriate, legal appraisal.

Generally speaking, many developers will claim that the value of the property is nothing — or the cost to renovate is greater than their bid price. They are trying to drive the acquisition price down. It is in their interest to do so.

So what might produce a higher return to the taxpayer? This property could have been sold to a family at a pre-renovation price. What family wouldn’t buy a house for $22K, across from a playground (keep the facade and allow the parking) with a water view?

Reader you be the judge: Is the land worth more than $21k anyone? Is the property worth more than $21k? In the opinion of many, this is a travesty and ripoff to the taxpayer. There are state guidelines for the disposition of surplus property.

Per Cambridge’s guidelines:
“Determine the value of the property
You must determine the value of the property before you can dispose of it. Chapter 30B requires that you determine the property’s value by using procedures customarily
accepted as valid by the appraising profession. You may hire an appraiser, although
you are not required to do so. You may also rely on the municipal assessment of a
property’s value if it is current, if the municipality is assessed at 100 percent, and if the
assessment is determined through valid procedures. The value of most parcels of
property will likely exceed the $35,000 threshold for advertised competition. For a
lease, you may use market rent data, or even advertised rental rates, if the number of
similar properties on the market is sufficient to determine the lease value.”

OK. Now lets talk value. What is the appraised value (albeit old, and based on previous zoning) versus the Town’s OWN LEGAL OPINION OF VALUE?

The appraised value of the property (Feb. 2016 — over two years old and using the previous zoning assumption reported in the appraisal): $500,000 — a half a million dollars.

$346,600 plus
$172,500 equals

SO — what does this mean: The appraisal and the Town’s OWN LEGAL OPINION OF FAIR CASH VALUE both reflect an indicated market value of approximately $500,000 — a half a million dollars.

THIS BOS just approved selling the property for $21k.

To contact state authorities, please relate your objections to:
The Inspector General’s Office
State of Massachusetts
Fraud hotline – Office of the Inspector General
24-hour confidential hotline
Call Fraud hotline – Office of the Inspector General, 24-hour confidential hotline at(800) 322-1323
Email Fraud hotline – Office of the Inspector General at IGO-FightFraud@massmail.state.ma.us

Neil Rossen
5 years ago

Take the money and run. Unless you’re a developer it is a sinkhole.

Take a tour inside the building and see for yourself.

5 years ago

Is there even a chance that the first comment is accurate??
There must be a reason… some zoning thing … or something similar that would allow the BOS to think it could sell valuable property for so little…

Based on first pass budget numbers, this would have been a great year for our town to pick up some material cash.

Honestly Able
5 years ago

As stated in the above article on Fayville Hall:
[Delli Priscoli] said the property has “little to no value” unless the building is torn down. This is just one opinion of value. The Town’s appraiser valued the property for 1/2 million. Was the Town’s appraiser incorrect? Why did the taxpayers pay for this appraisal if it is being ignored? Why did the Board of Selectmen proceed with selling a property valued by its own assessor at a half a million dollars for $21,000?

Is the buyer of Fayville Hall the same person who is named as a defendant in Worcester Superior Court yesterday 11-20-18 for conspiracy / collusion with Town officials in Hopedale? Can someone please find out and confirm — is this the same person named below?


“The suit accuses the Town and others of conspiracy to take Shwachman’s property–the former Draper Corp. factory–without compensating Shwachman and without including him in the process. However, for over a year, Defendants . . .have secretly plotted and concealed from Shwachman and THE PUBLIC a scheme to create a NO-BID public-private partnership to take Shwachman’s property by eminent domain and GIVE IT TO AN ENTITY OF (GRAFTON & UPTON RAILROAD) for NO COST,” the suit reads. Filed Tuesday afternoon in Worcester Superior Court, the suit names 18 defendants, including individual selectmen, the Housing Authority, Milford based developer Lobisser Building Corp and leadership within Upton & Grafton Railroad.”
Worcester Superior Court FILED 11-20-18
1885CV01781 Shwachman, Philip O. et al vs. Town of Hopedale et al
Case Type: Actions Involving the State/Municipality
Town of Hopedale
Town of Hopedale Board of Selectmen
Wesley, Thomas A
Arcudi, III, Louis J.
Keyes, Brian R.
Sette, Steven A
Grafton & Upton Railroad
First Colony Group, LLC
Milanoski, Michael D
Priscoli, Jon Delli
MacDonald, Jason G
Drapper Falls, LLC
Lobisser Building Corp.
Lobisser, Kevin
Hopedale Housing Authority
Hopedale Planning Board
Howes, Donald W

Know your Facts
5 years ago
Reply to  Honestly Able

Here are the facts ; Shwachman has owned this property for 30 years and done nothing with the property other than pay very low taxes and intimidate everyone in town. He is from Worcester where he enjoys a horrible reputation. The town is fearful that the building is going to be a major fire threatening over half the town since there is noway to contain a potential fire of this size this is a huge concern. Shwachman has been approached by the town for 30 years to do something and never does anything so the town had no choice but to take the property for public safety and other overall reasons. the town approached the railroad simply because they are the second largest property owner in this area and willing to help the town and invest with the town to remedy this diaster waiting to happen. If people are interested in real facts then reach out to the Hopedale selectman and town manger. candidly’ Honest Abe ‘you are anything but honest!

Honestly Able
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Spot on Beth.

As for “Know Your Facts,” this backdrop, while interesting apparently to you, is utterly irrelevant.

Generally speaking, no municipality, no town officials, anywhere have the right to collude behind an owner’s back. Period. Ever. Bad, good, or indifferent.

Also, no municipality has the legal right, at all, ever to conspire and approach another end user with plans, if in fact that is what you are describing above. Simply unbelievable.

I have no idea who the owner is or what this property is, but from your description, this owner should charge and prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law. Also, there are additional resources at the state level, such as the State Ethics Commission and the Attorney General’s Office. If there are attorneys involved, they should be turned in to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.

How about those facts, “Know Your Facts?”

And by the way, how would you like it if your town officials conspired behind your back to take your property and hand it over to someone else? Sound outrageous? Against the law? It is.

Know your Facts
5 years ago
Reply to  Honestly Able

Candidly Honestly able you have no idea what you are talking about.- you have not attended the public meetings in hopedale and you are passing judgement on info only from your interpretation of the media and putting it out as fact -your handle says it all and fits your agenda perfectly- by the way if you wanted Fayville Hall to go in a different direction why didn’t you bid on it ?-it was an open, well publicized bid process and then step up to plate yourself and write a check for $500,000 instead of making baseless assessments of the facts??

Honestly Able
5 years ago

To “Know Your Facts:”
Sorry — but I share your same opinion about you:
“You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”

However, in your presentation / comments, you have presented a full blown admission / explanation of the news article and your own defense / spin on the Hopedale bit, which is pretty strange.

I don’t agree with you and Beth who runs this blog does not agree with you.

Per Beth: “I don’t think it’s fair to call Honestly Able dishonest for asking a question and quoting from public stories. . .” That link is to a public news article! — the Telegram newspaper article! There is no interpretation whatsoever. Just a link.

Why are you so defensive?? And why are you straddling the Hopedale / Southborough town lines? Sounds like you went to the Hopedale meetings or have some connection? BTW, I believe this is a blog for Town residents — not you — if you are a Hopedale resident.

know your facts
5 years ago
Reply to  Honestly Able

honestly able-i am awaiting your response as to why you didn’t step up to the plate to put an offer in on Fayville-did you forget that part? That question has nothing to do with Hopedale-you seem to know everything so why no $500,000 check? It never ceases to amaze me that the people with the biggest mouths and opinions have the smallest wallets -truly amazing

Honestly Able
5 years ago

Still waiting for an answer on the two most obvious questions below.

Since you seem to be in the know, (and weirdly overly defensive to the point of cringe-worthy) maybe you can ask Mr. Purple or Mr. Shea (oh wait a minute, Shea recused himself for Conflict of Interest on Fayville Hall. What is the background on that? He never stated what the conflict was, can you find out and let everyone know, Mr. Facts? ). OK, that leaves a few others you can reach out to:

1) Why the Town’s Assessor came up with the Town’s opinion of $500,000?
2) Why outside appraiser hired by the Town Administrator, Mark Purple, came up with another value of approximately $500,000 that seems to support the Town’s own legal opinion of value?

Can you get the answers to those questions, Mr. Facts?

And BTW, there are those that are asking if you are actually a Town official since you are so oddly and overly defensive? Where are the “facts” in your “Know Your Facts” comments, as you seem to be high on your own version of explanations and short on actual facts, Mr. Facts.

Don’t you think the Town is honestly able to engage in a proper marketing effort (at least letting likely buyers know and maybe put a “For Sale” sign in front of the property?), disclose all material factors affecting pricing to the outside appraiser and in the offering memorandum (like the site may not perc?), and come up with more than one bidder? If the Town knew the site might not “perc” and decided not to locate the Senior Center there, why did the Town’s own outside appraiser produce an appraisal report a value of 1/2 million? See if you can find out the facts, Mr. Facts; the rest of us have asked and no answers seem to be forthcoming.

David Parry
5 years ago

Those surprised at the “low” offers to buy the building should be aware of the very high cost of renovating an historic building. And the risk the buyer has in establishing a viable business there.

This removes all future costs for the town, provides free parking for the public using the recreation field, saves the historic character of the building, puts in an attractive new use, helps Fayville, and puts a property back on the tax rolls.

Why not be thankful we have a developer willing to take that risk?

The alternative is to demolish it, and sell the land … For what? Will it provide free parking, etc. Will it save a significant part of our heritage ? Will it pay high property taxes and NOT cost the town in more school fees?

Concerned Voter
5 years ago

To Neal Rossen and Dumb and Dumber — Here comes the $21,000 to the town coffers (in a year of 10% — not 3% or 4% inflation –10%, budget increase due to overspending). The property was valued by the town itself (twice) by outside appraiser and by its own assessor at 1/2 million.

Here it comes — check it out:


5 years ago

Isn’t one of our Selectmen a Real Estate Atty/Appraiser?

How is any piece of property in Southboro that can be built on sold for 21k unless it’s a transaction between families or is a gift. That’s what this is a gift. If you had any hope for gov’t be honest this is the absolute end of that.

Al Hamilto
5 years ago

I don’t have an opinion on whether $21k to buy the building and rennovate it is a good price. But, I believe that the prospective buyer’s assessment that the best use of the property would require that the building be torn down is correct.

1. The second floor is condemned and has been so for years.

2. The “Septic System” is a cesspit located about 10 ft away from the building.

3. The rubble foundation and basement are wet (see 2 above)

4. The building has undergone mold remediation.

5. The site may not “Perc”. Septic issues prevented the town from building a Senior Center on this site. Note that this would have required tearing the building down.

6. The building has already had parts torn down. The attached garage that housed fire apparatus was torn down over a decade ago.

7. Any renovation of the building will likely require gutting the structure and would likely be more expensive than knocking it down and building new.

The only way to realize anything like 6 figures for the property is to permit the building to be demolished. In effect the Taxpayers are paying the difference between the value of the lot and the current offer in order to preserve this failing building.

Concerned Voter
5 years ago

Sorry Al, but with all due respect, you might want to double check the site area and the zoning.

The site (even combined) is less than an acre, which makes it an illegal lot for new construction. Need more than 1 acre. The current building is “grandfathered.”

As for the ability to “perc” or not, if the site does not percolate, that’s a problem. But Al, how did you know about this?

Was this critical fact in Mr. Purple’s / Town Administrator’s / the Town’s offering package?

Here are some realtor professionals’ general comments on what it means to not percolate:


Also, respectfully disagree totally with your view on six figures and permitting the property to be demolished for the above reason. The combined site is under an acre and new construction is not allowed. On the other hand, what family would not pay a pre-renovation price (keep the façade, etc.) and take up residence across from a playground? Sales prices of residential homes in the neighborhood are worth examining. Lucy above has a valid point: isn’t one of the Selectmen an appraiser and an attorney? Someone needs to ask him about these matters and can the public be informed?

Also, how did the town’s outside appraiser who valued the property at half a million and the town itself, the town assessor, whose opinion of value is about the same, how did both of them get it so wrong? Why did the taxpayers pay for that outside appraisal?

Al Hamilton
5 years ago


1. I knew about the Perc because I was serving on either the Capital Budget or Advisory committees and was monitoring the first phase of the proposed Sr. Center project. It was a design and feasibility phase and the project failed because the site had Perc issues. I believe there was an expensive “engineered” solution that was a potential.

2. I am not sure of the exact status of the lot and its ability to be built on. It did have both a single family home and Fayville Hall on it at one point. I believe that the existence of Fayville hall, would permit an owner to replace the building with a new one otherwise suited by zoning on the site.

Sean Connelly
5 years ago


For someone who so frequently and vehemently comments, you should remember that we voted at Town Meeting to prevent this from being demolished and to be preserved. No one would ever have considered this for a residential property given those requirements. The most economical thing to do at the time would be to tear down that rat’s nest. Meanwhile there is a large carrying cost to the town. This is a fantastic move and I welcome the developers preserving this historic site (which, I learned tonight was a hospital during the WWI era for the laborers building our reservoir) and bringing business into town.

Concerned Voter
5 years ago
Reply to  Sean Connelly

You miss the point:

If the site does not “perc,” nothing may happen on the site. Per Al, the Town was going to locate a senior center there, but decided not to do that.

The site features and ability to “perc” will dictate what happens on that site.

The only point about residential as a possible re-use is that it potentially could be examined as providing a higher price to the taxpayers, which they may not have been aware of at the time of the Town vote. Since the budget and taxes are way up, taxpayers will likely want more options.

Concerned Voter
5 years ago

Thanks Al.
Pertaining to your comments above:

1) The Perc problem is a problem, obviously. The Town knew / knows it does not “perc?” Was this matter in Mr. Purple, Town Administrator’s, reported in the offering package?

2) The exact status, size, of the lot can be found on the assessor’s property record cards as well as the existing outside appraisal (Mr. Purple ordered the appraisal). The size of the lots, when added together, don’t add up to an acre. For new construction, the required minimum lot size is an acre.

As a side note, the existing building is “grandfathered.” However, there would need to be a minimum of one acre required to allow new construction.

Kelly Roney
5 years ago

Why do you think the existing building is all that’s grandfathered, CV? Isn’t the use grandfathered? My understanding is that, normally, when there’s not a historical preservation agreement, an old building may be torn down and a new one built on the footprint of the old one.

That’s not what I want to see happen here, but I’ve seen people do this by right in other circumstances.

Also, Fayville Hall is in Residence B and thus it does not have a minimum buildable lot size of an acre. The minimum there for undeveloped property is 0.57 ac.

Concerned Voter
5 years ago

Thanks Beth.

Citing septic system failure in the package and stating such to questions is one factor.

However, not disclosing that the site possibly does not “perc” is not the same thing at all, not the same thing as saying the septic has failed.

Disclosing the septic has failed is not the same as disclosing that the site may lack the ability to “perc” (filtration rate, ability to absorb water, the land’s ability to support a viable septic system).

According to Al, the Town knew / knows the site may not “perc.”

Generally speaking, a potential buyer might mistakenly assume that a new septic system could be installed and the site “percs.”

Again, generally speaking, if a site does not “perc,” there may be no ability to install any septic system.

A lack of disclosure to potential buyers, but knowing the site does not “perc” (vis-à-vis not putting a new senior center there) could well be problematic.

5 years ago

Everyone brings up the failed cesspool/septic system regarding Fayville hall.
Fact of the matter is, previously there was a small house next to the building that was donated to the town as future parking and additional septic when needed.
No one has mentioned this addition .
Rather interesting that though it’s valued for this amount of money and it is sold for X .
I’d like to have my house devalued as well. Why should I or any others have to pay full price?

5 years ago
Reply to  Ben

I’m no expert, just guessing here, but perhaps there are degrees of “perc?” There’s very different requirements for septic for a single family home compared to well used public facility like a senior center.

5 years ago

It is 40 Central St.Where the parking lot is next to railroad tracks.
If you look on google maps you see two trees planted in front where the house used to be
.This was a future use for extended parking along with septic system expansion.

If there was a house on it then it had a septic system.

5 years ago

REMEMBER the current BOS members the next time they’re up for election – and remember how they chose to sell a town owned property (that’s right – owned by you and me – the tax payers) , assessed at ~$500,000 for a mere $21K.


The BOS, like ALL elected personnel, work for US – NOT the other way around.


5 years ago

If a building is going to require significant substantial investment for any viable use it is not uncommon that the market value may seem like a pittance. Even as a tear down you could be looking at many six figures just to build new. But either way Mr. Parry is right. And does anyone really think an antique shop and art gallery are commercially viable? The pull of sentimental charm will meet the reality of expensive utilities bills and other ongoing costs not to mention amazon and ebay.

4 years ago

In the lawsuit posted here you see an interesting name, interesting I saw in the sense of having a history of eminent domain and also urban renewal plans. Google is your friend, sunlight is the best of disinfectants: Milanoski, Michael D

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