Our roundup of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Office space market boon
The Boston Globe’s Diti Kohli zeroes in on Wellesley in an interesting article focused on the rising demand for office space in the ‘burbs, which of course means rents are up. In part, the changes involve converting traditional office space into bio labs, as is happening on Rte. 9 in Wellesley.
Though the article also cites firms that have shrunk their office space to accommodate hybrid work schedules.
Residential space market boon
Wellesley Executive Director Meghan Jop recently gave a whirlwind update on some of the residential construction moving along in town, including on Weston Road and Linden Street. If you’ve been away much of the summer, you might be surprised to see the progress. (You can hear Jop’s rundown at the July 26 Select Board meeting, about 1-hour, 16 minutes into the Wellesley Media recording.) The town has archived content on these one-time 40B projects that in some cases have since been revised.
Construction on the three-story Bristol condo complex at 148 Weston Rd. is cranking away, as you can see and hear if using the wooded trails of the North 40 woods that abut the project. Some of the Bristol’s online presence indicates a Fall 2022 opening…sounds ambitious. The 24 market condos, priced at well over $1M, should challenge down-sizers.
Separately, the Terrazza complex on Linden Street will offer 30-plus market rate units (mainly priced $1.5M to $3M) and 4 affordable ones in the former Delanson Circle and Hollis Street area off of Linden Street across from the commuter rail station. They’ve got a realtor’s office set up in Linden Square, and look to open in 2023.
Meanwhile, the Fieldstone Way townhouse project on Rte. 135 near the Needham line is nearly complete, according to Jop. About 90% of units (11 of 44 are affordable) are spoken for.
Construction is also underway on 17 units at Burke Lane on the Eastern side of town off of Rte. 9 east.
Projects at 680 Worcester St. and 16 Stearns Rd. that had been under appeal from various parties, including the town and neighbors, could be headed toward resolution, Jop said. She had no timeline on this.
Related to Wellesley’s housing plans, Jop also shared an update at the Aug. 16 Select Board meeting (about an hour into the Wellesley Media recording) that the state under its new multi-family zoning requirements for municipalities along MBTA routes has reclassified the town as a “commuter rail community” from a “rapid transit community.” This would focus Wellesley zoning requirements near its commuter rail stations, not near the green line stations close to Wellesley.
The town already feels confident it meets the zoning requirements either way.
A consultant’s housing market analysis will also soon give the town more to chew on regarding where Wellesley stands in terms of housing affordability and potential.
Pollinator condo boon
One other condo complex we’ve been asked about by a reader recently: The pollinator condos at Church Park at the intersection of Rte. 16 and Rte. 135 in Wellesley Square. We reached out to Wellesley Public Works Director David Cohen for an update on this plan for replacing invasives with native species.
“The goal for the renovation of Church Park is to provide a welcoming respite for pollinators and humans alike,” Cohen says. “The proposed garden planting reflects our position that public landscapes must be a refuge for all including pollinators that are critical to supporting balanced ecosystems.”
Church Park was last landscaped in the 1980’s with a selection of more traditional non-native plants.
The project is one that the DPW works on as time allows between its other maintenance activities. Many of the non-native plants have been removed and the brick walks have been reset. The existing irrigation system will be removed, as the native species are expected to be able to survive on their own. Though with the current drought conditions, there’s no sense in starting them off with that. Planning will likely happen in the spring.
“We are looking forward to having the garden ready for all visitors, winged or not, by late spring,” Cohen says.