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Linden Square makeover, Wellesley Square worrying continue

Linden Square courtyard

Although Linden Square in Wellesley is still just a few years old, developer Federal Realty has gradually been sprucing up the shopping area to give it more of a village feel. The latest changes include new signs, flowers and a courtyard area, complete with fire pit, that will serve as a gathering spot for events targeted at kids, adults and in-between (imagine these pictures with people in them having fun and holding shopping bags…I took these at 6am-ish).

Linden Square fire pit

new linden square sign

Events this weekend include kids’ activities on Saturday, such as face painting, a musical performance and S’mores at the fire pit, and “tween” activities on Sunday, including a 3pm concert by The Varsity Girls. A sidewalk sale and more are scheduled next week.

(By the way, one reader was asking about why the flowers in the new Linden Square islands got yanked. The town says the medians were made wider than they were authorized to be, so the contractor is reworking them. The flowers should return after that.)

While Linden Square has won some (Bonsoir, Staccato) and lost some (Isabel Harvey) of late, the merchants there seem pretty upbeat compared to some in Wellesley Square, which continues to struggle to fill empty storefronts, including the recently vacated Rosie’s Bakery space and the soon-to-be vacated Neena’s space (also see a recent Townsman report on the state of the Square). One local realtor and longtime Wellesleyite, Bill FitzPatrick of Wellesley Real Estate, has also taken to the blogosphere to rant against the changing nature of Wellesley Square, which he dreads will get a Panera Bread shop. (Not to say the Square hasn’t had some new life breathed into it via the openings of Old School Pizzeria and J.P. Licks.)

Neena's Wellesley Square

Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting addressed the issue of forming a study committee to figure out what to do about the square, and included much discussion of whether the town should move to  a split tax rate, according to a Wellesley Patch report. Businesses and realtors, naturally, don’t want any part of increased business taxes.

One Swellesley Report reader who attended the meeting said no one seemed to have any answers regarding the future of Wellesley Square and that town Executive Director Hans Larsen even alluded to Linden Square’s rise as contributing to Wellesley Square’s issues.

A  spokeswoman for Linden Square said businesses there have spoken of metaphorically building a bridge between Linden Square and Wellesley Square. Another physical bridge might not be on the way between the two squares, though one Swellesley Report reader has emailed us from time to time pushing for a literal pedestrian/bicycle underpass at the extension of Everett street (north of railroad tracks at Jimmy’s restaurant) that would come under the tracks  at the Town Hall park.  “Think about the benefits: Park your car once at Linden St for dinner at Jimmy’s…walk over to listen to a summer concert or get some ice cream at White Mountain or JP Licks.”


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