By Holly Camero
With the ever-changing retail market, Robert DiPietri is thinking outside the box when it comes to finding tenants for the development at 129 Parker St.
“The retail market is in such flux right now. So retailers that were there five years ago are not there today. So we are almost starting from scratch again trying to get new tenants,” said DiPietri.
DiPietri is vice president of Capital Group Properties, the Southborough-based firm that is developing the 58-acre property, formerly owned by Digital Equipment Corporation.
The developers have been working with the town since October 2012 to come up with a plan both sides can agree on and after several failed attempts, Maynard voters approved amendments to the Neighborhood Business Overlay District zoning bylaw that governs the property at a special Town Meeting, Jan. 11, 2016.
Capital Group still has not broken ground on the property, but DiPietri says they are nearing the finish line.
“I think we’re getting close,” he said.
DiPietri says they have been meeting with various boards for the last several months, during which they have pored over every detail, and they currently have meetings lined up until the end of June with the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and the Conservation Commission.
Approval from the ZBA is required, he said, because the property is in a Zone 2 aquifer zone, and they must show the development will not impact town water.
The architectural design has been agreed upon, as have the signs and most of the landscaping. Some of the open items include drainage on the property and the potential noise impact.
“We are in the process of doing a noise study on the project right now,” he said.
Most of the major issues have been worked out, he said, and he hopes to have permits soon so they can begin signing tenants.
DiPietri said even if all goes well, he does not anticipate building will start until mid-August or September because after the permits are issued, there is a 21-day appeal period.
“It’s a big project so there’s a lot to review,” he said.
Capital Group has been looking at potential restaurants, a fitness center, and entertainment options, DiPietri said, to go in the property. A few businesses have already signed on. Emerson Hospital has committed to opening an urgent care center, Market 32 will open a grocery store that will include Starbucks and a liquor store, 110 Grill will open a new restaurant, and Lux Nails will open a salon. DiPietri is also hoping for a small hardware store, a pet store and a hair salon, to round out what is now called Maynard Crossing. There will be an apartment complex, with an affordable component, and senior housing.
“We’ve got a couple of very exciting tenants that we are talking to and we’re hoping they will come,” he said. “A lot of them are just waiting until the final permits. It’s a big expense for them to commit.”