By Brian Lee TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WEBSTER — Galaxy Development LLC of Auburn purchased a parcel of the Cranston Print Works Co. facility at 2 Worcester Road last Friday for $2.75 million. The development company plans to build a 75,000-square-foot shopping center on the site at Routes 12 and 16 near Interstate 395.
Galaxy Development was represented in the transaction by Mathew J. Mayrand and William D. Kelleher IV, of Kelleher & Sadowsky Associates Inc.
In September, the Planning Board approved the development plan of 75,000 square feet of retail space. The project is projected to cost $15 million to $20 million and will take about 18 months to complete, said Michael C. O’Brien, Galaxy’s principal.
The 9.05 acre site was subdivided from the larger site of approximately 40 acres.
Cranston Print Works is marketing the remaining parcel with a 104,000-square-foot warehouse building.
Galaxy Development also built Walgreen’s and Advanced Auto Parts in town, and a Rite Aid in nearby Dudley.
Mr. O’Brien said the shopping center’s tenants have not yet been announced.
Probably one of the most significant aspects of the project will be the relocation of the clock tower and construction of a monument area at the corner of Routes 12 and 16, which is intended to honor the importance that the property had in Webster’s history, Mr. O’Brien said.
The original mill was called Sprague Print Works.
After the Civil War, ownership passed to BB & R. Knight. The Knight Corporation licensed and operated the mill under the “Fruit of the Loom” trademark.
In 1920, William G. Rockefeller interests bought the Knight plant and reorganized it as Cranston Print Works, which in 1936 purchased the Slater East Village mill and print works in Webster.
This is the site of the original Slater cotton mill established circa 1812 by Samuel S. Slater. It was at this historic mill that Samuel Slater developed the first American cotton-spinning machinery.
In 1977, Cranston Print Works restored and dedicated the clock tower in Slater’s memory.
Meanwhile, Grubb & Ellis Co., a commercial real estate services firm in Boston, has the remaining 30 acres at the site, as well as the warehouse building listed for sale at $3.5 million.
Cranston Print Works has ceased operations at the Webster property, said Anthony W. Caner, vice president at Grubb & Ellis.