It was supposed to be the development that ushered in the new Green Revolution in residential construction, but the Forbes Park development has totally fizzled and this week it sits empty – having had no takers at a recent bank auction and its signature windmill the focus of a federal lawsuit from U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
More than two years ago, the Record reported that the Forbes Park windmill wasn’t working and that the overall development was stalled and beyond rescue. At that time, it was reported that the state government’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund had sunk a $500,000 grant into the design and construction of the windmill a few years earlier – a grant that did not need to be paid back despite the fact that the windmill wasn’t working and likely would never work.
That said, late last month, the federal government moved in to collect it’s share of the windmill grant money – demanding $372,411 in grant money and $140,000 in interest payments via a lawsuit filed by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
That lawsuit, as first reported by the Boston Globe, focuses on a review last year by the federal Renewable Energy Laboratory. The review by that agency found that the windmill wasn’t meeting minimum energy production requirements as it isn’t producing any energy. The federal grant used to construct the windmill requires a certain amount of energy output per year, or the grant has to be repaid.
The Laboratory apparently tried to collect the money from the developer, the charasmatic Blair Galinsky of Somerville, but to no avail. That triggered the federal lawsuit on July 23rd.
And good luck finding Galinsky.
Though he frequently and enthusiastically commented on the development when it was being proposed, he no longer returns calls for comment.
The property is now owned by the bank – a progressive institution owned by the SEIU Service Union and known for investing in Green projects. The bank, Amalgamated Bank, lost at least $130 million in mortgages given to Forbes Park over two years, according to public records.
The entire 17-acre site went up for auction two weeks ago, according to the Globe, and the Paul Saperstein Auction Company could find no takers.
The bank called the property back after no one in the small crowd that had assembled bid enough.
Bidding began at $5.7 million.
The bank retained ownership.
Though things seem to be dire for the former Green Revolution site – originally purchased by Galinsky in 2004 for just north of $8 million – there seems to be some hope from a more traditional developer.
With no one making a proper bid at auction, City officials seemed to indicate that failure cleared the way for the bank to negotiate with an unnamed developer to build 300 units on the site.