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$6 Million "Uptown" Development for South Framingham Comes Before Planning Board

A California developer went before the Framingham Planning Board with plans to turn the almost empty Mt. Wayte Plaza into an Uptown mix of retailers, restaurants and office space at a cost of $6 million.

A California developer formally went before the Framingham Planning Board Thursday night with plans to turn the almost empty Mt. Wayte Plaza in South Framingham into an Uptown mix of retailers, restaurants and office space at a cost of $6 million.
A California developer formally went before the Framingham Planning Board Thursday night with plans to turn the almost empty Mt. Wayte Plaza in South Framingham into an Uptown mix of retailers, restaurants and office space at a cost of $6 million.
A California developer formally went before the Framingham Planning Board Thursday night with plans to turn the almost empty Mt. Wayte Plaza in South Framingham into an "Uptown" mix of retailers, restaurants and office space at a cost of $6 million.

Planners and neighbors were enthusiastic about the redevelopment project, which Framingham Patch first reported about in December 2012.

At that December 2012 informal meeting before the Planning Board, plaza owner Sam Adams said he had hoped to submit plans in fall of 2013. 

Adams unveiled conceptual plans at a community meeting in September 2013, but did not formally submit plans to the Framingham Planning Board until recently.

Planning Board member Stephanie Mercandetti told Adams last night, "I'm very pleased that you're finally here."

The redevelopment project would build two new two-story buildings on the corner of Franklin Street and Mount Wayte Avenue but also renovate the existing main building.

The closed gas station and Fotomat kiosk would be demolished. 

The current 50,000 square foot L-shaped building has three tenants (Dunkin Donuts, St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop and a barber shop).

Architectural drawings presented to the Planning Board have the new buildings covered in a combination of limestone veneer with mahogany paneling. The plaza's sign features the name "UPTOWN" in large letters.

Planning Board Chair Christine Long said she "loved the project" and told Adams "glad you took your time" with thre redesign. She said she loved the details and the colors.

Planning Board member Tom Mahoney said the project would put that plaza "back on the map" for the town.

Selectmen Chair Dennis Giombetti, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was glad the developer has worked closely with the neighborhood and what the Planning Board sees before them is a refinement of the project based on input from the neighborhood at a community meeting.

Giombetti asked the Planning Board to due its review, to be thoughtful during the process but move as quickly as possible so the neighborhood could see the project completely quickly so the neighborhood could be lively again.

Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Chair Michael Gatlin echoed Giombetti and said "this is a very, very important project to a good section of this town."

Gatlin, also representing the Framingham Downtown Renaissance organization said this project could be the gateway to the "new" downtown.

Framingham Town Meeting member Dave Hutchinson, who lives within walking distance to the plaza on Day Hill Road, said " it is going to wonderful when you start tomorrow on the project but hope you will not wake me up at 6 a.m."

He and his wife have lived neat the plaza, even before it was a plaza, for close to 60 years.

Hutchinson said he was "thrilled to see" adams submit plans and he "can't wait" for the project to start and be completed.
Framingham Departments have until March 25 to weigh in on the proposed project. 

Adams is looking for exceptions from the town's zoning bylaws. While the plaza has little to no green space, Adams' plans calls for about 12 percent green space, although the town requires 20 percent. And the redevelopment proposal has 330 parking space, short of the town's requirements.

The Framingham Planning Board continued its public hearing on the project to April 3.

Adams said after the meeting he has no tenants, at the moment, for the project. 

At the neighborhood meeting last fall, Adams he has had markets interested in the plaza, including small format markets and ethnic markets, but a large size supermarket like Market Basket could not fit at that site.

He said construction could begin six months after the Planning Board gives the green light to the project, weather permitting.
malieswski March 07, 2014 at 12:04 PM
I wish the owner of the plaza in Nobscott would do the same! That place looks like a mess and it would be nice to have a decent plaza with the new library being built across from Hemenway!
Dave Hornfischer March 07, 2014 at 01:27 PM
As a neighbor, I'm thrilled by this. I hope town committees quickly waive minor parking and greenspace exceptions. This is great progress. It would be great to move this forward quickly UNLIKE many other past project efforts in this town. It might encourage restoration of other blighted former mall areas like Nobscot, Saxonville and downtown. I am a bit concerned that NO tenants, real or potential are mentioned.
D Penta March 07, 2014 at 04:34 PM
Mt Wayte has been an eyesoar for years! Glad to see some movement. And now time to work on Nobscot Plaza and the Saxonville Plaza too!
Dave Lenane March 07, 2014 at 06:19 PM
Wake me up when tenants actually move in, and there just isn't an empty parking lot with a giant "For Lease" sign out front. The area isn't that easy to get to, and away from the main drag. I doubt that people are going to be knocking down the door to get there.

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