After the announcement that the city would in fact not be using the massive East Cottage Street parcel in Uphams Corner, dubbed the Maxwell Property, for a Public Works storage yard, residents in the area have begun creating a vision for the site.
Owned by the city of Boston, the property, which is bound by East Cottage Street, the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line, and Hillsboro Street, was once home to the Maxwell Box Company, but the city took control of it in 2010 after years of tax disputes with the owner.
On Tuesday residents, non-profit leaders, and community advocates met at Project Hope on Dudley Street to begin the process of creating guidelines for the site, which is currently home to a series of vacant warehouses.
The community process was prompted after the city announced in August that it would look to sell the property. As part of the city’s dissolution process a Request For Proposals will be developed to help guide any potential developers who wish to purchase the approximately 120,000-square-foot site. There is, however, no timeline for the sale of the property.
No concrete plans have been generated for the site, but members of the Uphams Corner Working Advisory Group, an offshoot of the city's Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative, have created a preliminary vision for the site.
The plans, presented in August, call for the conversion of the parcel into a residential and green industrial site for up to 101 residential units and 54,000-square-feet of light industrial use. The plans, however, are in no way what the future holds for the site and were generated to start conversations around potential uses.
“Because of its proximity to the T and its importance to the neighborhood it was identified as a priority for development,” explained Max MacCarthy, executive director of the Uphams Corner Main Street and a member of the Working Advisory Group.
Residents called for a number of uses at the site, from housing to something that would create jobs.
“I defiantly want to see residences there and personally I’d like to see them as high-end as the neighborhood and the property can bear,” explained Susan Capachione, an area resident.
Public safety and parking were also at the top of the list for many.
“We need parking and better lighting in the area,” said Boyd Robinson, who lives across from the property. “It also might be a chance to add another access point to the commuter rail station.”
Others called for a use that would stimulate the area’s economy and create jobs for residents.
“I’d like to see something that could create jobs especially those that help young people,” said Tania Fernandes, an area resident.
Fernandes added that making it a community space was important.
“It should be community friendly,” said Fernandes. “You should be able to walk by and sit on a bench and enjoy it.”
In addition to talking about what residents would like to see at the property there was also discussions about what wouldn’t work.
Some said industrial uses should be avoided in addition to anything that would add more cars to the already crowded street.
“I’m very wary of retail at that location,” explained Joan Tighe, an area resident. “That area is really tucked away. Maybe a small convenience store might work, but if you get into more retail it might not work.”
Discussions about the site are expected to continue as the city works to generate an RFP for the parcel, which will include comments from Tuesday’s meeting as well as other meetings in the community.