The town is looking to redevelop the Waldo and Durgin Garages in Coolidge Corner. The Waldo Area Study Committee presented several options to the Board of Selectmen at Tuesday evening’s meeting.
“There are used to be signs that said retail stores that are empty on Pleasant Street,” Kara Brewton, Planning and Community Development Acting Director Kara Brewton said. “There were plenty of signs that said ‘Retail Store For Rent’, but when you called, no one would answer. There was significantly more graffiti, which has since been removed, trees growing in the sidewalks, large cracks in plate glass on the public sidewalks.”
At one point, a decorative urn-shaped object fell off the building and almost struck a pedestrian. “At this point, we decided to act,” Brewton said.
Durgin Garage, built in 1927, was listed amongst Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources in 2012 in hopes the “public recognition will bring attention to the plight of this elegant building which has suffered from neglect for many decades.”
“In 2011, there was a large snow pile at the end of Waldo Street, which is a private street, where there was reported drug activity, abandoned van, rats living in the Durgin garage and different departments came together to clean this up,: Brewton said. “We are now at a point where we can enforce everything that we can, but we still have empty retail spaces.”
The Waldo Area Study Group put forth several options for redevelopment.
One option put forth by the Committee includes reusing the Durgin garage as it is after some improvements. This would only work as a valet parking garage since the split floor plates offer little room to move in.
Another idea includes adding multiple floors to be used as residential or hotel space. Also suggested was the idea of keeping storefront residential units on Pleasant Street with the parking garage behind them and adding multiple residential units on the second floor.
At this time, the Waldo Area Study Committee decided that the hotel and residential ideas would work best, while offices seemed the least likely due to parking issues.
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