A traffic study is underway, architectural drawings are being completed and no businesses have been identified, but the owner of the Mt. Wayte Plaza said he wants to submit plans to re-develop the plaza by the end of October or worst case November to the Framingham Planning Board.
Framingham Patch was the only media outlet to report in Dec. 2012 that Plaza owner Sam Adams had begun the process to redevelop the mostly empty plaza at the corner of Franklin Street and Mt. Wayte.
Wednesday night, Adams and Waterman Design Associates Senior Project Manager Michael Dryden unveiled the unfinished plans to Town Meeting members and neighborhood residents, before a standing room only crowd at the Memorial Building.
The $10 million investment in the plaza would have the gas station at the corner torn down and the former Fotomat booth removed. The current 50,000 square foot L-shaped building, which has three tenants (Dunkin Donuts, St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop and a barber shop) would be remodeled.
Town Meeting member Ken High of Precinct 12 encouraged the owner to do whatever possible to find a way for the Maenzo's barber shop in the new plans.
Adams wants to construct a new two-story building, where the former Shell gas station was, with 11,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 11,000 square feet of office space on the second floor.
Town Meeting member Michelle Smith, also of Precinct 12, said it was "gratifying to see the level of investment that may potentially happen." Smith said it was great and refreshing to attend a meeting where the presentation was forthcoming and professional.
Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin agreed, calling the plans "very exciting."
Adams told more than 100 residents in the room Wednesday night he inherited the plaza 10-12 years ago as part of a larger portfolio. He said he had many inquires from businesses about the plaza, but some wanted the entire property razed and others didn't want to consider the property unless it was remodeled.
Adams said the if all goes well construction could begin in spring 2014, but that the project could take up to three years to complete.
Originally, Adams had to plan submit plans to the town earlier this year. One reason for the delay was the traffic study.
Dryden explained that Adams did not want to do the traffic study during the summer when school was not in sessions. Adams said traffic counts were taken last week by the consultant.
In regards to tenants, Adams said "I wouldn't build it if I didn't think I could fill it."
He told residents there would be no night club and no drive-thru businesses.
Adams said his vision is for mixed use of retail, offices and food service, like coffee at 6 a.m.
He said there will be no very large tenants, as the 6.7 acres is not large enough. He specifically mentioned a tenant like Market Basket would need the entire lot just for parking, and said it was not feasible to have them in the plaza.
Adams said for the entire time he has owned the property - 10 to 12 years - he has had markets interested in the plaza, including small format markets and ethnic markets.
The 400 Restaurant would likely remain, as Adams said he doesn't own that property. "I had a dialogue with the owners and I don't think it is going anywhere."
Adams would be looking for exceptions from the town's zoning bylaws when he finally submits plans.
While the plaza has little to no green space, Adams' plans calls for 8 to 10 percent green space, although the town requires 20 percent. And the redevelopment proposal has 330 parking space, short of the town's requirements.