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Saugus tees up a 245 apartment unit at former Golf Country on Route 1

SAUGUS — More than 200 apartments could replace 18 holes on Route 1.

A development is proposed for the 10.7-acre site on Route 1 North made up of three parcels, including the former Golf Country property. If approved at a Planning Board meeting this Thursday night, the development will include 245 apartments in three four-story buildings.

About 40 percent of the units would be one-bedroom and about 60 percent would be two-bedroom. An outdoor pool, common area, and fitness facility is also proposed.

Golf Country was described on Yelp.com as a “no frills kind of place’ with a driving range and mini-golf course. It closed several years ago and the site has been vacant since.

Original plans included an emergency access road stemming from Longwood Avenue, but neighbors were strongly opposed. Developers worked with the town’s police and fire departments to eliminate the road and instead spaced out the buildings to allow space for emergency apparatus between them.

“This is a by right project,” said Richard Salvo of Engineering Alliance.

Zoning allows the project up to 300 units and the proposal is within the height requirements, he said.

Throughout the project, invasive species of plants would be removed and more than 350 trees planted, he said.

To the north of the site is the 28-acre property where a Chapter 40B development with 300 apartments has been proposed. The development, which would be called Saugus Ridge, would include two four-story buildings connected by an amenity area of offices, a mail room, a lounge, the leasing center, and a lobby. There will also be a courtyard, and possibly a pool.

Golf Country isn’t the first miniature golf course to be turned into a housing complex. Route 1 Miniature Golf & Batting Cages, home of the iconic orange dinosaur, was sold to a developer in 2015.

The park and adjacent properties will soon be transformed into Essex Landing, designed by BMA Architectural Group. The $120 million development will include 250 one-bedroom apartments in four buildings, two hotels, retail space and garage parking in seven buildings.

Also on Route 1, work is underway for a $10 million AvalonBay Communities development at the former Hilltop Steakhouse property.
Plans include turning 13.9 acres of the site into a mixed-use development with residential and retail space. The frontage will house one story of retail space, and three four-story residential buildings will be in the rear. The residential space will have a total of 280 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, and a one-story clubhouse with an outdoor swimming pool.

Two of the four projects are already underway. Should the other two gain necessary approvals, there will be 1,075 new apartments on and around Saugus’ stretch of Route 1.

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