Summer Local Business and Development Update

In late Spring, I blogged an update on the progress of several important commercial properties throughout the City. I thought this may be a good time to revisit the progress being made and to take a look at the overall commercial real estate market here in Melrose.

Without a doubt, the residential and commercial real estate markets have never been more active than they are at this moment. A sentiment shared by Jason Madden of Pondfield Commercial Group: “The commercial market in Melrose is strong, with demand far exceeding the supply. We wish Main Street Melrose had another full block of retail buildings because we speak to business owners who want to open in Melrose, but there is no inventory available for them to occupy,” he said.

In addition, Melrose also has been able to maintain a very competitive commercial tax rate compared to many of the surrounding communities as shown in this 2015 graphic with local commercial tax rates.

Commercial Tax Rate

The property I am asked most about is 530 Main Street, the old Moynihan Building that housed Breads and Bits of Ireland. The building recently changed hands and was purchased by John Wise of Wise Construction in Winchester. Wise Construction is responsible for the project at 99 Essex Street, which transformed the former Universalist Church building into a 15 unit residential building in an architecturally sensitive way. That project has been very well received and has helped to spur resurgence along the Essex Street corridor. We are extremely excited with the plans being developed for this landmark property on Main Street that will soon be made available to the public.

Mr. Wise added, “We are thrilled to be investing in Melrose and to be a part of the future of Main Street. We are currently in the initial design phase of the project and are expecting to submit our plans for review within the next 60 days. We have had significant interest in our retail space and look forward to bringing in new, exciting tenants to Main Street. Melrose is a thriving community and we are impressed by the quality of interest in this project from both the local community and the Greater Boston area.”

Also on Main Street, The S.D.M. Foundation will occupy the spot previously occupied by Boston Candle Company at 465 Main Street. The S.D.M. Foundation is a non-profit tutoring center created to help residents develop computer and technology skills through classes and programming.

We are also very excited about the opening of T’ahpas 529, located at 529 Franklin Street. Local businessman Lorenzo Tenreiro plans to open his third food establishment in Melrose, and this latest endeavor is his most ambitious yet: a Spanish Mediterranean Restaurant with fine dining for 77 patrons and a full bar. This great new addition is scheduled for opening this October.

Ice Cream will soon return to West Wyoming Ave, as a new establishment, Cloud 9, will replace the old Heavenly Licks at 40 West Wyoming Ave. This re-opening along with the recent approval of a new multifamily residential building to replace the dilapidated building at 10 Corey Street will pave the way for the revitalization of this important connection between downtown Melrose and the Wyoming Business District.

Further down the road, the Washington Street corridor has seen the opening of Little Sprouts Daycare in the location of the old registry building and the opening of Fitzgerald Physical Therapy Associates taking over the ground floor commercial space that anchors the new multifamily residential building at 2 Washington Street.

This past week, final approval was given by the Planning Board for the City to proceed with the demolition of 1 Kimball Court. By purchasing this abandoned property, we will be able to add 23 additional parking spaces in Dills Parking Lot (behind Shaw’s). This will add a significant amount of parking to our downtown area that will give an immediate boost to local businesses and their patrons.

Finally, there is the Caruso Building at 681 Main Street. As previously reported, after several years of vacancy and family litigation, there is a pending sale of the building between the family. At the moment, the potential owner is working with the State to remediate any areas that have been identified by the Department of Environmental Protection from decades past. We are hopeful that we will see resolution soon and a proposal for development at this historic location.

With the downtown Summer Stroll taking place this Friday night, I thought this was an appropriate time to focus on some positive local business development. While it is always important to keep a focus on our local businesses, the vacation-heavy times of July and August are especially trying for many small businesses. It is up to all of us collectively to support our neighbors in the community by spending time and money in these great stores throughout our business districts.


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