Framingham City Council Chair Dennis Giombetti speaking this morning at the groundbreaking The Buckley, at the site of the former empty Mt Wayte Plaza. Photos, more video, and a report on the new apartment complex on Source soon. — Susan.
Posted by Framingham Source on Monday, October 22, 2018
FRAMINGHAM – In 2012, the Town of Framingham and its Selectmen formed a task force to see what could be done about the almost empty Mt. Wayte shopping Plaza.
Six years later, former Selectmen Chair and now, City of Framingham Council Chair Dennis Giombetti attended the groundbreaking for the re-development of the plaza into a 210-apartment complex with a neighborhood restaurant.
“It is my great pleasure to stand before you today (October 22) celebrating the groundbreaking of the long awaited redevelopment of Mt Wayte. What an absolutely glorious day for our neighborhood and our city. It has been a long time coming but our day is here. It has been something I have worked on and hoped for over a decade,” said Giombetti, to a crowd of more than 75 developers, city leaders, and neighborhood residents.
“As I have said on numerous occasions the blighted plaza has been by far the single most frustrating situation I have ever been involved with in my entire life. But we owe this day to this great neighborhood for it’s resiliency, pride, the never say die attitude, the open mindedness, the willingness to compromise, and its spectacular will,” said Giombetti. “Of course none of this would have been possible without someone who is willing to invest and risk millions of dollars in their vision for this site.”
After several failed attempts to redevelop the plaza, Baystone Development, out of Weston, purchased the 6.7 acre property from Samuel Adams for for $4.7 million in June of 2017.
MutualOne Bank in Framingham provided funding to acquire the empty plaza. KeyBank is assisting Baystone on the redevelopment side of the project.
It wasn’t an easy process to redevelop the site.
First, the neighborhood advocated for fewer apartments and a restaurant. Baystone agreed to the requests.
“I’ll tell you they fought darn hard for that restaurant,” said MacDowell yesterday.
The restaurant has not been named yet, but MacDowell told Source he is in discussions with three companies.
Them, the developers secured approval from the Framingham Planning Board, and special permits from the Framingham Zoning Board of Appeals.
Developer Roy MacDowell attended the groundbreaking yesterday, with his sons Todd and Roy.
Also in attendance was Mayor Yvonne Spicer, and City Councilors George King, Judy Grove, and Cheryl Tully Stoll. Framingham Planning Board members Victor Ortiz and Joseph Norton were in attendance, as well as Framingham Zoning Board of Appeals chair Phil Ottiviani Jr.
The Buckley will have an underground garage, 210-apartments, a clubhouse, a pool, and a neighborhood restaurant.
The plaza was demolished this summer, and work has already begun on the garage.
MacDowell said the first apartments should hit the market in January 2020.
At meetings with the city, during the approval process, Baystone said apartments would be studios, 1-bedrooms, 2-bedrooms, and 3-bedroom units. Rents mentioned during those meetings ranged form $1,800 per month for studios to $3,000 a month for the 3-bedroom units.
My Wayte Plaza was a neighborhood destination for decades.
For almost 50 years, there was a supermarket in the plaza. The Big D and Price Chopper operated there between October 1961 and April 2001.
Another popular hangout was the 400 Restaurant, which closed in 2013.
Over the years, there was a Fotomat, a swimming pool store, a laundromat, St. Vincent’s thift shop, a CVS, a Taylor Rental Center, a Shell gas station, and more.
The last business in the plaza was Tony Maenzo’s barbershop.
Mayor Spicer said the project was about compromise and partnership.
“As I said to Mr. MacDowell, it is important that he invest in our community, and I’m grateful for the investment, but we now have a relationship,” said the Mayor in her remarks yesterday. “And our relationship goes beyond this project, it is how do we give back to the citizens of Framingham? How do we continue to grow and inspire our young people?
The Mayor said she used to shop at the grocery store at Mt Wayte, when it was called “Purity Supreme,” when she first arrived here in Framingham.
“I know what this plaza was before, but I am also hopeful, about its future,” said Mayor Spicer.
Watch her full remarks below.
Photos by Susan Petroni/Petroni Media Company for Framingham SOURCE ©2018. All Rights Reserved.