Developer Plans $240M Family Spa

Bridgeland Development LLC is planning to build a $240-million family spa on 155 acres at the former Belchertown State School. The project, dubbed Quabbin Resort Spa, will transform the former mental institution into a full-service complex with a 350-room hotel, restaurant, conference center and spa treatment rooms.

Elizabeth Taras, with Bridgeland Development, tells the Chicago-based development company will begin remediation work to remove asbestos and led paint early next year prior to beginning construction in late 2007 or early 2008. The 1.2-million-sf project just south of the Quabbin Reservoir is set to be completed by 2009.

The spa will also include an equestrian center and a museum that will feature a history of the former school and the region.

"We're taking all the top 10 trends in spas and interjecting them in one concept," says Taras, noting that the spa will be geared to middle and upper middle class families who want to get away for a few days of healthy eating and treatments at a cost much cheaper than other spa facilities.

"It will be a destination spa like Canyon Ranch but we're going after a more affordable market," she says. Canyon Ranch is a health resort company with several location throughout the US, including Massachusetts.