MMA Innovation Award winner, From The Beacon, February 2023

Signs advertise a June 2022 special Town Meeting about the Medfield State Hospital property.

With careful planning and extensive public outreach, the town of Medfield is transforming the former Medfield State Hospital property to help meet community needs for housing, open space and the arts.

Medfield bought 128 acres of the former hospital land from the state in 2014, and has embarked on a nearly decade-long process to reimagine and redevelop the property, which overlooks the Charles River. When its efforts are complete, Medfield expects to have 334 new apartments (25% of which will be deemed affordable), an arts and culture facility, and open space, while preserving historic buildings and netting an estimated $700,000 annually in property tax revenue.

Working closely with the apartment developer, Medfield has sought to balance the opportunities and challenges that come with redeveloping a large property while protecting the town’s character and values.

“Medfield State Hospital is such an integral part of the history of Medfield, having been built in 1896,” said Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler. “This public-private partnership allows us to honor that history, while also meeting so many of the goals in our town-wide master plan, such as protecting historic resources, providing a diversity of housing options, and protecting natural resources and open space.”

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hospital property originally occupied some 600 acres, but it had shrunk over the years, according to Town Planner Sarah Raposa. Eleven years after the hospital closed in 2003, Medfield Town Meeting voted to buy 128 of the remaining 241 acres for $3.1 million. The state’s remaining property has been reserved for parkland, open space, passive recreation and agricultural uses.

The Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee studied the property for several years and solicited resident input, ultimately releasing a master plan in 2018. Medfield identified three redevelopment goals: maintaining and enhancing the town’s character and values, addressing housing needs, and achieving reasonable economic and financial results for the town. In 2019, Town Meeting approved special zoning requirements to ensure that any redevelopment would adhere to the master plan.

In June 2022, a special Town Meeting approved the $2 million sale of 45 acres to developer Trinity Acquisitions LLC, which proposed building 334 apartments and preserving historic buildings on the campus.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I shed a tear when that vote happened,” Raposa said. “It was such a relief, because there was so much effort put into just the education and outreach. But it says that the community really cares about this property.”

The permitting process will likely take place in the coming months, and the developer expects to start construction next year, Raposa said. Medfield kept part of the campus center, and has leased the chapel to a local nonprofit, the Cultural Alliance of Medfield, to create a cultural arts facility.

Medfield conducted extensive public outreach and engaged a diverse group of stakeholders to get the project to this point. In partnership with the developer, the efforts included an informational website, social media outreach and analytics, surveys, walking tours, open houses, dozens of meetings and workshops, programming on Medfield TV, and newsletters.

The project will put the property on the town’s tax rolls for the first time, and the developer has agreed to pay $1 million in mitigation for the schools. The development’s affordable units are expected to put Medfield over the state’s Chapter 40B threshold for affordable housing.

“This is the legacy of this generation to the next generation,” Raposa said, “where we’re not leaving them a problem but maybe we’ve buttoned up a couple of problems and solved a couple of town goals.”

For more information, contact Town Planner Sarah Raposa at

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