Sunday, November 8, 2015

This Town Ain't Big Enough....

From Dave Brigham:

When I first drove past this sign, I thought it indicated an abandoned retail complex in Maynard, Mass. Doubling back later, I realized this site was something different.

The Shoppes at Maynard Crossing have been in the planning stages for at least two years, on the site of a former Digital Equipment Corp. complex. City residents and officials have gone back and forth with the developers to arrive at a plan that satisfies both sides, never an easy task. Maynardites want to make sure that a retail complex outside of town doesn't hurt the prospect of a revitalized downtown.

I've spent some time in downtown Maynard, and it ain't pretty. There are a lot of vacant storefronts. There is great potential there -- the area is clean and many buildings face onto main streets and avenues -- but the problem is the lack of customers. For years, Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) occupied the giant mill that dominates the downtown. Subsequent to DEC's absorption into Compaq Computer, took over a significant portion of the building. But the job search company, too, left the area. Now the mammoth parking lots surrounding the mill are largely empty on weekdays.

If the mill's new owners can attract businesses, that will help prop up downtown businesses, and lead to the opening of new restaurants, shops and services. It's hard, though, to see a way in which the small city can also support numerous other retailers just a short drive/long walk out of town, at Maynard Crossing. Stay tuned....

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