Representatives from Trinity Financial Group visited the Wellesley Community Center on Tuesday night to present their ideas for developing the Tailby and Railroad Avenue parking lots in Wellesley Square. A standing-room-only crowd of over 130 residents and stakeholders put Trinity on the hot seat about issues such as traffic, parking, and affordable housing. Project manager Dan Drazen led the group through a slide show and later took questions from the audience.
Back in November 2018, the Wellesley Board of Selectmen voted to enter into negotiations with Trinity for ground leases of the lots, which could wind up the sites of 90 units of housing — half of them luxury condos, and half of them mixed-income rental spaces that would fulfill Massachusetts Subsidized Housing Inventory requirements. In addition Trinity says the project will add 450 parking spaces, a theater and gallery space, and new ADA accessible commuter rail platforms and elevators up to street level. Trinity estimates that all this will give Wellesley an estimated $1 million annually in new property tax revenue.
Trinity was selected from a group of six companies that answered the town’s Request for Proposals (RFP), which invited “…proposals from qualified developers to enter into one or more long-term leases to develop the Town of Wellesley Tailby (103 Linden Street) and Railroad (7 Grove Street) Commuter Parking Lots for parking and affordable and market rate housing that will be owned and operated by the selected developer(s).”
The selection of Trinity does not mean that the development will definitely take place. The town is still in investigative mode in talks about the project. Still, the town didn’t send out an RFP just as an invitation to tea, and Trinity has been encouraged enough to produce renderings of the project and site plans. Drazen said those plans will be up on a new website shortly.
The engaged crowd was most interested in letting the company know that community outreach and creative vision were all very well and good, but traffic and parking concerns would have to be addressed. Things got a little heated at times, but angry flashes were directed mostly from residents to residents. “Speak up!” shouted impatient people to someone unfamiliar with how the microphone worked.
In general, however, residents were there to become educated on what might turn into the most major change in Wellesley Square in decades — and make sure that the changes don’t become a major headache.
According to the town, now that Trinity has heard from the community, the group will meet with the Board of Selectmen “later in the summer, likely either July 30th or August 13th.”
Trinity, which says it’s been on a “listening tour”, has asked for continued community engagement. The company plans on holding another community meeting in September or October.
You can contact Trinity reps by emailing [email protected] or calling 617-720-8400.