Federal Realty Investment Trust — the folks who brought you Linden Square — wants to make some big changes to the shopping area, as their representatives have told the Board of Selectmen. Over the past year, they’ve drawn up plans detailing the way they want to significantly upgrade the retail area, particularly the south side (the California Pizza Kitchen side), which currently is not nearly as inviting as the north side. Or as BoS member Barbara Searle put it, the south side looks like a strip mall.
To this end, Federal Realty will hold a Community Meeting at Town Hall in the Great Room, Wednesday, March 1, 7pm to give a full presentation of this proposed “Linden 2.0” plan. Think informal, here. There will be no voting or official “Community Speak” segment. It’s more of an informational meeting and presentation.
Federal Realty’s Bryan Furze said they are looking to design more connectivity between the two sides (“a more pedestrian atmosphere” — and he meant that in a good way), so that if a patron parks on one side, it won’t be a huge hassle to get to the other side of Linden Street. As always, parking is a big sticking point, and that’s an issue that Federal Realty says it will fully address, and that they have a traffic studies presentation that they are eager to share.
Furze concedes that parking, especially during peak and panic times, can be tight saying, “We will manage parking better with employees and lead people to little-know spots.” Sigh. I’ll miss the ready availability of my little-known spot.
Some other details that will be covered: Sweetgreen, a healthy, organic, supports local-farmers kind of place that espouses all the right core values and screams sustainability (and which will provide refreshments at the March 1 meeting), will be the “fast casual” 2,000 sq. ft. restaurant that will open on the North side in the fall in the space currently occupied by Bonsoir. Don’t say au revoir to Bonsoir for your fine European bedding needs, however. They’ve moved a few times in Wellesley over the years, so it seems likely that they will simply do so again.
Meanwhile, on the South side, Talbots is preparing for its grand re-opening in April in the former Ace Hardware space, and Federal Realty says that a to-be-determined 4,000 square foot, full-service restaurant of about 100 seats will go in over there.
In addition to the new shopping and dining mix, several beautification plans and improvements are set to take place which include a new and improved courtyard with better seating; a decorative lighting display extended across the street with a pedestrian experience that creates a better connection between the two sides of the shopping center; community art projects involving local artists and students; and community raised vegetable gardens, hopefully in a partnership with Charles River Center in Needham, which supports people with developmental disabilities through employment and day services; residential services; family support; and more.
All of this still has a ways to go. If Town Meeting this April okays the Linden Square plans when it votes on a warrant article, then Federal Realty will proceed with the process, which includes obtaining building permits and going before the design review board.
Just don’t put in another bank or Real Estate office. They are destroying the look and feel of the town as they occupy prime retail space they could to far more interesting and inviting establishments.
I really don’t like it when people hate on banks and realtors. If you need to buy a home having a centrally placed realtor’s office is invaluable. And I personally use bank tellers a great deal. Just because other people don’t need to use them doesn’t mean they should have the right to push banks out of town.
And I would remind people that the reason rents are so high is because there is a shortage of commercial real estate in Wellesley. It’s ironic that often the very same people who are anti development are those that want the very businesses they implicitly exclude through limiting the supply of commercial real estate.
Issac Gardiner says
I am all for increasing the commercial tax base in town, and we should allow for greater density to facilitate that. Accordingly, we should also be providing for/encouraging/demanding better walkability and bikeability to ward off unnecessary traffic. To this end, conspicuously missing from these plans and those of the town (still hoping for a mention in the Unified Plan) is a pedestrian/bike tunnel under the train tracks to connect this development in a safe manner with the half of town south/east of the tracks. (The Kingsbury and Rockland Street crossings are astoundingly dangerous for cyclists and Crest Rd is only marginally better – all are too far out of the way for many to walk to this development.) This idea has been bandied about for 100 years, and its time has come. A significant contribution by the developer toward its construction should have been a condition of the original development and should be a condition of the proposed enhancements now.
I like the idea of connecting Linden Street and Washington Street. But alas a tunnel would be exceptionally expensive. However I would be in favor of a bridge that would go over the tracks and connect the two roads. It could either have a spiral ramp to enable cyclists to get up and down it or an elevator. That way cyclists and pedestrians could access the town with much greater ease!
I would note as well that elevated cycle tracks exist in Denmark and China and enable extremely safe and quick travel through a city for pedestrians and cyclists. Personally I very much favor this idea. It would eliminate many deaths and it enables bikes and pedestrians to travel a lot faster. It doesn’t take up limited road space.
And they can built so as to be aesthetically appealing with vibrant colors. Copenhagen-based architectural firm Dissing + Weitling designed the one in China and it looks magnificent.
– CA Pizza kitchen makes lousy pizza
– Talbots is a waste of space compared to ACE hardware
– Replace Pinkberry with FiveGuys
– Qdoba is there? I did not know that.
Qdoba needs more sales, it is a good place, not enough traffic!!
CPA needs improvement with what they use in their salads
Five Guys would be good!
Agree ACe was great!!
An much better Chine would be great
Thank you for yuour comments!
I Admire and every time I drive there, love what has happened in Linden Square, Remarkable!
The landscaping is wonderful and well kept up, it is a joy to go to Linden street and Linden Square..
Bravo to the people with some vision.
REminds me of CArmel, Ca…just a little, at least a little!
Not only would Five Guys and Panara Bread be an asset to our community as would a Dollar Tree Store.