Frequently Asked Questions

Learn about Cell Signaling Technology’s plans to create a sustainable research and development campus at the old quarry.

What is CST proposing and where would it be located?

CST Founder, President, CEO and long-time resident of Manchester, Michael Comb, believes that a vacant 40-plus acre parcel of land, blighted by decades of quarrying and located at the end of Atwater Avenue on the north side of Route 128 in the Limited Commercial District (LCD), can be repurposed to meet his company’s need to expand its scientific research and development capacity.   CST’s vision for the property is to reclaim and restore the quarried land and to build a best-of-class, sustainable R&D facility in a campus setting with, and attached to, open space.

CST is presently investigating the site to better understand its potential.  Initially, CST envisions a new research and development facility of 125,000 to as much as 200,000 square feet.  Over time, should CST continue its growth, it is anticipated that this site could accommodate CST’s long-term needs.

CST’s vision of a restored site and a sustainably developed R&D facility is consistent with the Master Plan’s expressed desire for environmentally sensitive, low-impact development which generates significant tax revenue.  An example of a similar R&D campus can be found at New England Biolabs’ facilities in nearby Ipswich.

From its founding, CST has pursued the highest standards of environmental stewardship.  CST will maintain this commitment when developing and operating the R&D facility at the Old Quarry.

CST’s buildings will be energy efficient and the company will be working toward Green Building certification, as they have with their other facilities, in their effort to develop the most sustainable building as possible.

What are the benefits and impacts to the community of Research and Development on the Old Quarry site?

The benefits of CST at the Old Quarry to the Manchester community are many and include:

  • A substantial source of new property tax revenue to pay for help pay for essential town services and infrastructure
  • Reclamation of a blighted quarry landscape
  • Gaining a strong corporate community partner with a long track record of environmental stewardship and conservation
  • A corporate commitment to local charitable giving
  • New opportunities for local service businesses
  • Helping to advance scientific research to benefit the citizens of Manchester and the whole world
  • Potential new public access to conservation land
  • Helps fulfill the major goals of the Town’s Master Plan to increase “Town revenue through planned development within the Limited Commercial District…needed to maintain public infrastructure and facilities.”
  • CST’s long track record of environmental stewardship will ensure that land, water and other natural resources will be protected.

One significant attribute of the Old Quarry site is its somewhat remote location relative to the downtown area and schools.  Located north of Route 128 at the end of Atwater Avenue, traffic can access CST at the Old Quarry directly from Route 128 via School Street with, we expect, minimal impact on local downtown and school traffic.

CST at the Old Quarry is the type of low-impact sustainable development that is identified in the Master Plan which will generate substantial new property tax revenues to support essential town services and infrastructure needs.

How will CST balance the development of the campus with environmental considerations?

CST has a long track record of corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability.  Every decision made by company employees considers environmental impact.  The company has committed to the Paris Accord, the use of recycled packaging, recycled paper and soy inks, electric vehicle refueling stations and financial incentives for employees purchasing EVs.  CST will approach the reclamation and redevelopment of the Old Quarry with the same commitment to environmental sustainability that it has demonstrated for decades.  Highly efficient building envelopes with state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning solutions, effective stormwater treatment, and a host of other sustainably driven design decisions will be implemented to enable CST to achieve its LEED and other sustainability goals.

CST looks to go beyond developing sustainable buildings.  For example, in addition to reclaiming the old quarry with its envisioned open-space green buffers and CST will continue their support the protection of the rare Sea Run Brook Trout which once thrived in the Sawmill Brook.  CST also hopes to partner with adjacent landowners to increase the access to and enjoyment of abutting conservation land.

You can find out more about CST’s commitment to the environment at

Is this development consistent with the Town’s Master Plan?

Yes.  The Recommendations section of the December 2019 Master Plan states that to increase “Town revenue through planned development within the Limited Commercial District and through incremental growth Downtown” is one of two primary goals of the Master Plan.  The Master Plan explains that “Greater Town revenues are needed to maintain public infrastructure and facilities” and suggests that “deliberate and carefully planned development” in the LCD represents the best opportunity to realize this change.

The Master Plan states that “a majority of the town’s residents agree that the Town should support new commercial development that boosts tax revenues. This funding option of the top choice of Master Plan survey respondents with nearly double the support of other options considered.”

Will this project generate positive property tax revenue?

Yes.  A lab or R&D facility carries a high property value relative to other uses.  The result should be a significant contribution to Manchester’s tax base.  At the same time, commercial enterprises typically do not draw meaningfully on town services.  The result should be a meaningful increase in tax revenue with modest offsetting costs.

What will be the impact on abutters?

One of the advantages of this site is its relatively remote location.  Abutters include Route 128 to the east and, to the south and west, Cape Ann Storage, the medical offices on Kit Glass Drive and a number of open space parcels owned by the Trustees of Reservations.  CST will work closely with its neighbors to understand and mitigate the impacts of development while also seeking to expand the open space opportunities by connection to adjacent conservation land.