Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Developments in the Depot District

A quick update on some developments going on in and around Depot Park (AKA The Depot District).

State Electric recently moved it's headquarters from Woburn to 2 DeAngelo Drive. The building which was originally built in 1974, underwent renovations before State Electric moved in.

Formulatrix a life science company currently in Waltham, will soon be moving to 10 DeAngelo Drive. The site is currently undergoing renovations. Interior building renovations are expected to begin shortly.

Demolition should be starting very soon at 54 Loomis Street. The new mixed used development, tentatively known as Bedford Place will have 2800 square feet of rental space available along with 23 apartments. The building is expected to be completed by May 2015. The retail space is now being advertised for lease.

Artist depiction of retail space at 54 Loomis Street

As reported previously, the retail space being developed at the back of the Bikeway Source bike shop at 111 South Road is just about complete. The new space which is about 1250 square feet, is expected to be ready by the end of the summer. Ken Larson the owner of the property has started to look for a tenant. According to Ken, the ideal tenant would be a shop that is locally owned and sells high-quality baked goods, breads and pastries as well as good-quality coffee.

The back of 111 South Road is now available for retail lease
As part of the renovation, The Bikeway Source has expanded their show room. Stay tuned for more details on their expansion.

And in Depot Park itself, additional renovation are underway at the Depot Building. The renovations include restoring the facade, replacing the current windows with a design that better matches the age of the building, making the first floor bathrooms handicap-accessible and adding a handicap accessible entrance ramp. After the renovations are complete, the space may once again become available for lease to retail and other tenants.


Anonymous said...

Do we really NEED more housing? Our business districts continue to be converted to heavy residential.

As result, town infrastructure is self-destroying under the weight of this and the other residential developments pushed by elected and non-elected town leaders in past 3-10 years.

Anonymous said...

Ooo really hope Ken finds that quality bakery/coffee house he's hoping for!

Anonymous said...

Why was the depot repainted in the fall if they were just going to rip the siding off? Seems like a waste?

Adam Schwartz said...

With respect to the business districts being converted, the business parks still have fairly high vacancy rates while housing is in strong demand and retail is doing okay. This makes it more difficult to get financing for business projects and easier for residential/mixed use projects.

Adam Schwartz said...

The Depot Building was repainted in fall of 2012. I'm not sure of the reason. I'm guessing it was not clear if the town was going to get the additional money for the next stage of renovations.

Anonymous said...

with respect to current demand for housing that may be currently higher; it may be short sighted for the town to promote converting important business/retail districts to heavy residential component. Obviously, the pendulum will swing in time and the town will then be left with a glut of vacant residential units.

The improvements on Crosby Drive and Rte. 3 is making this area more attractive to business and retail and is resulting in new investment and upgrading of those sites. It will take some time, but the town would be rewarded with patience vs. selling out to residential which stresses town infrastructure.

Adam Schwartz said...

I agree on the improvements to the Crosby Drive area. I know the planning board is working on addressing some issues and making some tweaks to encourage additional economic development.

On the housing side, there is such a large demand for housing in this region that I don't see any drop in demand for a long time. There are lots of people priced out of where they want to live. For example right now there may be people who want to live in Lexington, they can't afford it so they make look at Bedford. People who want to live in Bedford but can't afford it may be looking at Woburn. If supply goes up and prices do drop some, you still have the pent up demand that you won't end up with a glut. We saw this a few years ago when prices came down some but demand did not.

Adam Schwartz said...

More info on some of the economic development items the planning board is looking at - http://www.bedfordma.gov/planning/minutes/minutes-84

Anonymous said...

but, if Bedford adds so many residential units so quickly that it hurts our town infrastructure which leads to continued raising of property taxes then the premise collapes: seniors cannot afford to stay in town due to town mismanagement leading to high growth property taxes and high taxes make the town less attractive than other towns like Burlington. It was Bedford's positive fiscal management that originally attracted people here in place of Lexington which is very poorly run.

Adam Schwartz said...

This is a good discussion. Over the past 10 years a majority of the property tax burden has shifted on to residential property from commercial/industrial. I think the town understands this and is become a lot more active in focusing on attracting and retaining businesses in Bedford.

On the residential side Bedford has had a lot of new single family housing in the past 5 years. In addition the past 2 or 3 years have seen a large number of older houses torn down and replaced with much larger houses. On the one hand, these houses are worth a lot more and generate a lot more property taxes while only creating a slight increase in costs. On the other hand, this decreases the supply of lower cost homes making it less affordable for seniors who want to move in to a smaller house and stay in town. It also makes it harder for newer town employees to live in Bedford.

On the infrastructure cost side, I think a lot of that depends on location and type of housing. Typically higher density has lower costs per person.

Anonymous said...

Regarding tear downs; this is generally a very good thing since it generates considerable revenue and replaces inefficient older homes. Saving historic homes is separate.

Note, there is effectively no demand for Seniors to move to single family homes in Bedford. Tear downs actually help seniors since they help protect town tax rates and may make their property more sell-able and beneficial for estate planning.

Higher density residential DOES have a negative financial impact on town infrastructure. The % of students per rental unit in Bedford is greater than other towns. More people and more demand for law enforcement, schools, library, voting services, and more. It collects less tax revenue per person in higher density.

The town has added residential and subsidized residential at rates far greater than others.

Adam Schwartz said...

I agree that the tear downs generate additional revenue however replacing a 1500 square foot home with a 3500 square foot home does not see more efficient.

For seniors, I guess the question is do they want to remain in town if they decide to downsize. Right now there are few options if they do. I think this question would be worth exploring.

I think we must have different numbers on the density question. I get different results. I'm working off the 2012 data which shows there is about 1 school enrollment for every 6 apartments in Bedford (.18 students per apartment). When I combine with the rest of the numbers, the financial impact is less than single families homes. If you want to ping me off list, I'd be interested in comparing our numbers. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The issue is that the town has added too many residential units too fast for the town to manage. Slow down for town to catch up. Further converting of commercial parcels to residential at this time is questionable.

Anonymous said...


We are going to have an issue with where do we put all these students. Davis School is soon to be too small.This current kindergarten class is full to the limit. Ask the overworked teachers, Superintendent and Principal!!!New increases each year with knock downs and new families coming into town either in mansions and/or apartments.Hello town officials ,figure it out:OVERCROWDED SCHOOLS and too many cars on our roads!!

Adam Schwartz said...

Hi Anonymous,

With respect to schools, the last enrollment report I see is October 2012 - http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/images/stories/pdfs/Enrollment_and_Class_Size.pdf

Do you know if there is any updated information. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Town officials IRRESPONSIBLE fiscal management resulting in outgrowing our schools within years of rebuilding and expansion. Talk to the principals and school committee.

Anonymous said...

First hand information. I have children in system. Please talk to the schools to,get census but beware the start of school there will be more after all these homes move out the empty nesters and sell to families with kiddos.

Fred said...

Unfortunately government officials are notorious for not considering the unintended consequences of their decisions and policies. And when you bring them up, well, they don't really seem to care.

Fred | devlux