Smart growth, transportation oriented development, urban revitalization and place-making are buzz words that define this project. A development team comprised of a local CDC and a supermarket owner engaged DHK to design the master plan for this mixed use project that will form a new gateway to the traditional neighborhood hub of Dudley Square.
The site is located at the intersection of two important arterials – Washington Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard – just one block away from Dudley Station, the most active bus station in the MBTA system. The publicly owned portion of the site – the 2.05 acre Parcel 10 – was the victim of an ill-fated urban roadway project and had lain vacant for some three decades. The developer combined this parcel with an adjacent a privately owned property to create a 2.7-acre site with frontage on four streets.
A new 40,000 SF building for a well-established Latino ethnic supermarket – known as “Tropical Foods” – is the retail anchor the project. The 19th C building that it occupied for many years will undergo adaptive reuse for conversion into a mixed use property with retail at grade level and housing on the upper three stories. A new five-story, 60,000 SF gateway building will be located on the most prominent corner of the site. It will combine first floor retail with three floors of office use.
DHK faced several urban design challenges. The first was to create a pedestrian friendly destination while accommodating vehicular access from four streets and parking for over 100 cars. The second was to create a strong gateway image at the Washington Street entrance to Dudley Square. The third was to preserve the historic integrity of the former Tropical Foods building and to re-establish the continuity of the street wall along Washington Street.