Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

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Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

Postby mbk2013 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:50 am

Was down in the area for the first time in a while, tracks that cross University seem to be in good shape, but hard to really see any of the sidings.
Does the area still get any freight traffic? Google maps shows some lumber activity but that's it.
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Re: Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:50 am

The Home Depot warehouse gets lumber multiple times a week from CSX, but that's it at the moment.
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Re: Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:53 am

mbk2013 wrote:Was down in the area for the first time in a while, tracks that cross University seem to be in good shape, but hard to really see any of the sidings.
Does the area still get any freight traffic? Google maps shows some lumber activity but that's it.


Home Depot Warehouse is a huge CSX customer. Largest single customer for them by far (which may not be saying much given the other choices) inside of I-495. 3 afternoons a week at least...maybe more. 4 loading tracks + a runaround next door that stores overflow. When housing starts are good in the area you can count up pretty impressive number of lumber racks sitting in Readville Yard for that trip. Nothing else at the moment at the 3 sidings in eyesight of Home Depot on the Norwood side of the town line. The big building immediately next door is partially occupied by one of those low-rent PODS rent-a-moving-crate places. Typical transient tenant that took out a lease when the economy was in the gutter and will probably move when their rent gets jacked. Olympic Adhesives and whatever else shares their building have never gotten rail service; that siding hasn't been used in a long, long time since a previous tenant. Ditto Metropolitan Cabinets. All of the other small customers closer to the NEC are dead and a bunch of the northerly spurs were ripped out for the Westwood Landing commercial/residential redevelopment.

The PODS warehouse is definitely a prospect for attracting another rail anchor customer if Town of Norwood can attract somebody big. Norwood is intent on keeping this whole area industrial, and still has a few empty parcels on U. Ave. in reach of end-of-track to build out. The easy highway + rail access makes it an attractive place to lure some transloads. CSX lacks those places on the southside while Pan Am's starting to rake it in with Tighe Warehouse in Winchester and the new New England Transload that's aiming to build in Woburn. It's one business area where CSX would probably be modestly interested in a little recruiting for a biggish new catch, since a transload customer in the Tighe mold complements their Eastern MA business plan pretty well where little else does.


Westwood can't bulldoze fast enough to build out its (sprawly, underwhelming, and steeply downsized from earlier plans) mixed-use narnia next to the Amtrak station. So seriously doubt any of the small places with extant sidings are ever going to get new tenants. Too small, in too anti-freight a town. Future prospects on that spur are all contingent on how much Norwood wants to sharpen its acumen at executing a multimodal master plan for their side of U. Ave.
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Re: Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

Postby Bill Reidy » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:15 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Westwood can't bulldoze fast enough to build out its (sprawly, underwhelming, and steeply downsized from earlier plans) mixed-use narnia next to the Amtrak station. So seriously doubt any of the small places with extant sidings are ever going to get new tenants. Too small, in too anti-freight a town..


Umm, no, not quite. Westwood is not bulldozing anything -- the development team that currently controls the properties for University Station ("Westwood Landing"?) has chosen to build out the mixed-use site in its current form. The end result certainly is not as innovative as the original proposal for "Westwood Station", but the economy of the late 2000s sadly doomed both that concept (truly a new town village with 1st floor businesses and residential units above) and the first development team. That original proposal also had no room for rail freight sites. No other capitalists came forward to redevelop the several abandoned industrial sites as industrial sites.

Developers moved in when industrial tenants moved out of the University Avenue corridor, leaving several abandoned sites. Westwood reasonably modified its zoning bylaws to accommodate the new development as a result. If there is demand for industrial sites that can accommodate rail freight, why isn't this seen on the Norwood town line side, the nirvana for rail freight where Home Depot is the only remaining customer? Where are the other Norwood rail customers?

There are several industrial sites along the east side of University Avenue in Westwood that can still accommodate rail freight. Let's see if economic forces entice businesses there to make use of rail. As much as I hope so, I'm not optimistic. Whatever the outcome, it's certainly not the town of Westwood that's determining that outcome. Real estate values this close to Boston are the dominating factor, as seen by the retrenchment of CSX freight on the old B&A main line.
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Re: Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

Postby fogg1703 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:16 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The easy highway + rail access makes it an attractive place to lure some transloads. CSX lacks those places on the southside while Pan Am's starting to rake it in with Tighe Warehouse in Winchester and the new New England Transload that's aiming to build in Woburn. It's one business area where CSX would probably be modestly interested in a little recruiting for a biggish new catch, since a transload customer in the Tighe mold complements their Eastern MA business plan pretty well where little else does.


Do you realize CSX serves a large Tighe operation in Mansfield?

This isn't your first comment on CSX having far less "transload" oriented businesses on the south side than PAR. Curious how one customer, Tighe in Winchester (paper only) outweighs CSX's 4 or 5 customers in SE Mass?

Here is a not so official list:

Tighe is the biggest one that had used up to 3 warehouses all rail served in Mansfield before the Winchester operation ever restarted rail service. Currently Tighe only uses rail at their main Mansfield warehouse on Oakland St (mostly pet food). When Gallo was shipping wine into Tighe (early to mid 2000's) they had a warehouse on West St and Suffolk Rd in West Mansfield all humming. When they land a large contract, they seem to be able to rent any number of vacant rail served warehouses in the West Mansfield Industrial Park area to fit their needs.
Radford Transportation/Barrett Distribution Plymouth St Mansfield
Advanced Warehouses Francis St Mansfield
Foxboro Terminals next to Gillette Stadium. Business is way down after half of their warehouse buildings collapsed after winter of 2014.
List Distributors Readville

All still receive active CSX rail service and give CSX much more diversified commodities to ship rather than PAR's Tighe Winchester's paper only operation. Until New England Transload gets throughout the remaining legal hurdles and establishes its own customer base, IMHO PAR is the one needing more "transload"warehousing customers.
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Re: Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

Postby fogg1703 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:18 am

Bill Reidy wrote:Developers moved in when industrial tenants moved out of the University Avenue corridor, leaving several abandoned sites.


Im sure US Gypsum would beg to differ. They were asked to relocate and wound up a PAR customer in Ayer.
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Re: Westwood/University Avenue Industrial Park

Postby ButtersROW » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:15 pm

Both Pan Am and CSX service Tighe warehouses in New England

Pan Am Railways has:
Tighe-Woburn
Tighe-Winchester
Tighe-Ayer

CSX has:
Tighe-Mansfield

Tighe Winchester receives much more than paper as they get flour, tomato products and some other random food products.

Another note: List Distributors is now "American Beverage" and will join the future MS Walker building in Readville (old Stop and Shop site)
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