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What Happened at Whispering Pines?

For our latest You Ask... Patch Answers, one readers wants to know why construction halted on the Salem Street condominium complex.

The foundation was laid. But that's where, for the time being at least, construction ended at the Whispering Pines condominium complex.

So one Wilmington Patch reader wants to know, what exactly happened, and is it allowable for the builders to leave the foundation unfinished?

"When they put two foundations in they built (one building) in back now we have to look at an eye sore every time you drive by," said the reader. "They have not done anything to the first building lot since they put in foundation in. Why would they be allowed to do that?"

The conversation about Whispering Pines stretches back more than one year ago when .

At that meeting, Kristen Costa and Linn Anderson told selectmen that due to a lack of sales, they needed to lower the number of rentals that were required to be sold to residents 55 and older.

“We’re not alone,” said Costa at the time. “It’s across the state that over-55 projects have run into the same problems we have. Many have lifted the restriction or removed it completely.”

According to Planning Director Carole Hamilton, it is that same economic struggle that prevented Whispering Pines from continuing on with its construction plans.

"Unfortunately that is economics and the private sector. You can’t really force someone to build something they can’t afford to build," said Hamilton. "The developer was granted a permit for the foundation in anticipation of building both buildings. It has not been economically feasible. Yes it’s allowed. As far as when or will it be finished? I can’t answer that."

Town Manager Michael Caira said similarly that there isn't anything the town can do about the empty foundation. But he added he is hopeful that the project can eventually be completed.

"I empathize with the residents who have to see that daily," said Caira. "When I drive by there I’m disappointed with what it looks like. I hope the market turns around so they can develop the lot appropriately. I can absolutely understand why a resident or anyone else would be unhappy with the current condition of the property."

Wayne Sullivan July 24, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I don't think anyone really wants to live next to a set of train tracks that has a commuter rail right behind it. Tewksbury has no issue filling their over 55 units and people are waiting to get in. This type of buyer is looking for a little bit more peaceful scenery rather than a train running through the back yard. Construction building is on the rise with interest rates as they are. I say this is project specific and not necessarily entirely due to economics. One over 55 man's opinion! Sounds like the town's hands are tied relative to enforcing any action. It's unfortunate for the surrounding homes and for the people that currently live there. I hope it turns around soon!
Ed Giroux July 24, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Thanks for the infomation Matt.
Matt Schooley (Editor) July 24, 2012 at 06:43 PM
You're welcome, Ed! Just a heads up that any readers with questions they'd like to be considered for "You Ask... Patch Answers," you can e-mail matthew.schooley@patch.com.
webmom July 24, 2012 at 07:04 PM
There are a few developments that began and never ended (i.e., Yentile Farms property)...I hate the visual blight too, but I agree, you can't force someone to build if they don't have the funds. It's just too bad the loan approval process to begin building doesn't seem adequate enough to show funding. That said, I agree people like to blame 'the economy' on everything sometimes. On a personal note, I would never buy in that area, too close to the pig farm in Tewksbury..it must really smell over there (since it reeks over at the North school which is farther down)...that also may be a reason units have not sold.
Marion Bradford July 24, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I live in North Wilmington, just off Salem St, sometimes the stench from "The Pig Farm" Is so bad we can't go outside our homes, that might have had a factor, in the second unit of Whispering pines, not being built, and being between a bog and railroad track might have been another factor, and the foundation is indeed an eye sore, why does it have to remain there, ditto the one at Yentiles farm,why can't they be knocked down.
Jo Ann McNeil July 24, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Instead of "Whispering Pines" they should have named it "Roaring Trains". But I guess that wouldn't help sell units. ;)
Wayne Sullivan July 24, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I realize this is about Whispering Pines, but Yentile has been mentioned a few times. The town just purchased this land as was reported publically. This land will be developed at some point soon. Don't know what will be there, but anything is better than what is there now. This would include taking out the foundations or may be not and they can be used in some functional way. I wouldn't be surprised if the next town meeting has something on it relative to this development, but only time will tell. Maybe we can make it a zoo for all the crazy's we have around here, just kidding!
CHERYL July 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM
At what point does the town require the foundation removed? Some green with benches would be nice while they wait for the opportunity to sell. I would have to agree that living next to a train track isn't appealing to most people so that definitely contributes to poor sales.
J.R. July 25, 2012 at 01:12 PM
I don't know. I live next to the Commuter Rail tracks. You really don't notice it. It isn't like living next to the Orange Line. The trains only come through about once an hour during rush hour, much less frequently during the day, and they don't run late at night. On the weekend it runs even less than that.
Steve McMahan July 25, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Much like the apartment lived in by Elwood Blues, you'll barely notice the trains after a while.
J.R. July 25, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Not really. I'm not under the Commuter Rail. I couldn't reach out my window and almost touch the train.
Anna September 08, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I don't think the town can demand the foundation to be removed. Demo usually cost money, which the builders don't have right now. You can't just go and tell them to remove the foundation and then rebuild the foundation once they have the money. Laying the foundation cost alot already and redoing it will just be silly.

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