The town announced Thursday morning that it has signed a 99-year lease with the 26.2 Foundation that grants the nonprofit a 19-acre site on East Main Street for the development and construction of an International Marathon Center.
The project was approved by the Select Board late last year, and a special permit was granted by the Planning Board in March.
According to a press release from Town Hall, the facility will offer state-of-the-art educational and cultural facilities centered upon a marathon museum and hall of honor. The center will include conference facilities and an auditorium, as well as research space, classrooms and function rooms.
HealyKohler Design of Washington, D.C., is developing a compelling, interactive visitor experience designed to maximize repeat visitation and sustainability, working to plans developed by Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects, the press release states. The construction and management of the center will be privately funded, through individual, foundation and corporate philanthropy, and the 26.2 Foundation’s plans call for it to open in the spring of 2024.
“The IMC will be a signature destination for runners the world over — a truly international venue designed to draw both U.S. and overseas visitors, like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York,” said Hopkinton town manager Norman Khumalo, who signed the lease on behalf of the town. “It will be of significant importance to the economic growth and development not only of Hopkinton, but also to the entire MetroWest region.”
The press release indicates that over the next several years, more than $40 million will be invested in Hopkinton infrastructure, thanks to the combination of IMC development (more than $20 million) and the town’s Main Street Corridor Project, now underway, which is designed to improve safety for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians and reduce congestion in Hopkinton’s town center.
“While the successful development of the 26.2 International Marathon Center has potential for socioeconomic benefits within Massachusetts as a whole, the locus of direct economic impact will center on Hopkinton and the region,” said Elena Kazlas of ConsultEcon, an economic planning and management firm that has conducted two separate feasibility studies of the proposed IMC over the last 10 years. “This project has the potential to create new business and employment opportunities in Hopkinton and will serve to expand Hopkinton’s and the Boston area’s profile as a tourism destination with a niche focus in marathoning.”