Imagine a Starbucks and a Tasty Burger - and biotech companies - in Dudley Square

The Globe reports on business interest in Dudley Square as the new Ferdinand municipal building gets closer to opening.



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hard sell

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It's going to be a hard sell with transportation options that consist of a bus, and an area that is generally hard to get in and out of. (by car)

I know of a very large health-related organization who will be nameless was courted by the city to move there, and pretty much told the city to go take a flying leap. No parking, transportation sucks, and it's still a run down area no matter how much try to spin it as "up and coming".

You can put all the Starbucks and Tasty Burgers you want, it still doesn't make it a viable location, not when the innovation district or kendall still has viable space avaliable and better transportation options. Convert the Silver Line to LRV and people will flock there, a bus, not so much.

I'm confused

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The innovation district is also difficult to reach by public transit, because of that same Silver Line bus problem. Dudley is similarly situated for driving: it's five minutes from 93, or a quick shot up Mass Ave to downtown. And the Innovation District is only the place that it is because someone decided to sink an ungodly amount of development money into it; it was a similarly-shaped blight fifteen years ago, but now suddenly everyone wants to talk about building $1700/month loft apartments there because it's Up And Coming.

And Dudley Square, as recently as thirty years ago, was a pretty happening place. Then they ripped out the Orange Line, and now we get to hear about how dangerous a neighborhood it is because of all those unsightly poor people. I guess what I'm saying is, the major difference between Fort Point and Dudley Square isn't economic, it's racial, so these discussions make me a little uncomfortable. And I'd like to see what would happen to Dudley if someone put some money into the neighborhood. Boston is running out of blighted neighborhoods to miraculously transform, so maybe we can fix one that's a little less WASP-y.


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I don't agree with your transportation rebuttal.

One key thing about Fort Point. its walking distance to South Station, a major transportation hub. I can't say the same about Dudley. The closest rail station to Dudley is... uh Ruggles which is a hike thru an area most won't walk thru. And as car as a car, Innovation District, you have 93 and 90 with direct ramps to the neighborhood.

I'm sorry. I've lived in boston for 15 out of those 30 years and I've watch the city and state dump boat loads of cash into an area (Dudley) that just does not want to 'come up'. 14 years ago, people were saying "oh the silver line will save us' and 14 years later, it still has not 'saved them'. Some times, some areas just want to 'come up' no matter what you do.

And yes you are right maybe its a race thing, but as everyone knows too well, it's very hard to break that mold. Even the South End (parts in SoWa), still have a reputation of being a 'bad area', even though the SE is as gentrified as it comes now.

Don't Be Sorry--Take Another Look

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"The closest rail station to Dudley is... uh Ruggles which is a hike thru an area most won't walk thru."

From the Ferdinand to... uh, Ruggles is about 10 min. down Ruggles St. between well-maintained playgrounds, high school athletic fields, and the manicured lawns of residential apartments. In front of one property is the "lollipop" sculpture that graced a downtown high-rise plaza (100 Summer Street) for decades. It's a well-traveled pedestrian way.

Dudley is rising.

You may

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You may think that, I don't. Its all a matter of opinion. You may think its walk-able, but most don't. See my last comment about the SoEnd to know how hard it is to change people's perspectives about what is and is not a bad area.

You kind of answered your issue

in the second paragraph with what you said in the first: for all the supposed "dumping of money into Dudley," there is nothing the area needs more than faster transit service in the form of light rail, which is what the Silver Line should have been. Roxbury, as a whole, is, by far, the most bus-dependent neighborhood in the City--you're only going to get but so much development out of an area where everything is at least a two-seat ride from Downtown.

Let's say I live in Grove Hall and want to get to Downtown--sure there are plenty of buses to get me halfway there, but after I take one of them and then either get off at Dudley and transfer to the Silver Line ("another slow bus") or stay on and transfer to the Orange Line at Roxbury Crossing or Ruggles. If the Silver Line were faster light rail it would be much more of an attractive offer.

The other issue with the Silver Line is that it terminates at Dudley Square in the first place--the old Orange Line continued on to Forest Hills. The least the State could do is continue the Silver Line down Warren Street to at least Grove Hall rather than force a transfer at Dudley Square to the 14, 19, 23, 28, etc.


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That is my point exactly. Without proper rail service (not a bus), the city and the state can dump all the money it wants into parks, sidewalks, and tax breaks for renovating buildings you want. but without viable transportation (a rail line), it'll never be as great as it could be if there was a rail line.

Full Disclosure, I live in Chelsea, Tomorrow night I am attending a meeting about extending the same Silver Line to my town. Sure its a bus, and sure all my arguments about 'up and coming' neighborhoods (or in my case, Chelsea as a whole), do apply to this also. I'd LOVE a Light Rail Line, but I know that I'm dreaming if I wait for that (or at least in the next 15 or so years it won't happen). But I'll take the Silver Line over the current alternatives (which is zippo). It beats having 3 111's drive by you in the morning because they are like sardines in a can full.

(But at least the commuter rail station will be moving with this project to a new location, and un-like Dudley, at least we have a commuter rail station, Dudley does not)

When was the last time you

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When was the last time you actually walked that route? I've gone that way many many times and once you get over your prejudiced fear, it's not that bad. Never been hassled, and I'm not exactly an intimidating figure.

I live there. We are not bad

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I live there. We are not bad people. There's a nice sidewalk and if you want a fantastic muffin and coffee you can get one at the ever warm and welcoming Haley House.

Fort Point doesn't have gang

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Fort Point doesn't have gang and blatant drug dealing during daylight hours like Dudley does. The public safety issue is a major factor in holding the area back.

But how to change without changes

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I won't claim that Dudley Square is the safest place in the city, but surely it's no different than Downtown Crossing or what Central Square in Cambridge was like in the late 1980s.

The reality is that until the office buildings have tenants, there will be no reason for the square to change. All of the improvements until now have been maintenance- rebuilding a police station where one was, upgrading an existing library, and so on. The opening of the Ferdinand Building offers potential- the influx of new people. I would imagine that the first restaurants and whatnot will be for the people who work there, but if Pressley or whoever is pushing it gets beer and wine licenses for the area, then evening dining, which could uplift the area like the influx of yuppie restaurants did for Roslindale Square. By that time the Bartlett Yard will be in the process of redevelopment, which could mean more people to use those amenities. This could lead to more retail and so on.

Yes, things are rough, but the city is investing in this being the next big thing. Property owners will most likely put pressure on the police to keep the gangs and drug dealing out. If not, then you have Quincy Center on our side of the Neponset.


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That's gentrification, we don't want that! Cleaning up the neighborhood and reducing crime will increase rents and property values and drive away "teh poor," therefore it must be kept ghetto at all costs! To hell with all the working middle-class families who might actually be able to afford to live in the city instead of spending 3 hours every day on the road and/or train, to hell with all the new businesses, to hell with the tax revenue they would bring, we must save "teh poor!!!"

It might be what you want, but

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Who's to say this isn't happening already. From what I've been lead to believe, Fort Hill is gentrifying as we speak. I would imagine, much like in Southie or Charlestown, there are families who own their houses or triple deckers who wouldn't mind heading out to Easton or thereabouts, as for the rest, that's what Hyde Park, Roslindale, and Mattapan are there for. I could get from Roslindale Square to Dudley Square in probably a half hour, but let's make it 45 minutes, by T. If people didn't want that trip, there's always the push up Warren Ave.

I don't see the business owners of Dudley Square griping about the influx. Of course, the push for new liquor licenses (I do get confused, couldn't they just be beer and wine?) could have something to do with a fear that only well connected outsiders will be able to survive in the new environment.


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$1700 lofts in Fort Point? More like $3700, last time I checked. As for the unsightly poor people in Dudley, quite a few of them have guns, long criminal records and insatiable desire for other people's iphones.

There's also the proposed cycletrack on Malcolm X

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that would connect back to the SW corridor path - which already sees a few thousand cyclists a day, btw. Also - if Mass Ave were made "safer" for cyclists, and there were some improvements to the bus/bike lane on washington, this would make it a fairly appealing bike commute from people north of the river. Along with other bike improvements in Dorchester - this could actually be a viable commute option for a lot of people for most of the year. Yes, biking is not everyone, but the zip code just on the other side of columbus already sees around 10% bike mode share (at least according to ACS) - so it's not unreasonable to expect a significant number of people seriously considering getting there by bike - especially since it's in a central location (only 25-30 minutes by bike from Roslindale or West Roxbury - 15 minutes from Coolidge Corner, 20 minutes from Central Square in Cambridge, etc...).

The innovation district is probably the least accessible by bike from anywhere in the city aside from downtown and southie...


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Improve the neighborhood to the point of being desirable to middle-class population - everyone whines about gentrification and "teh poor" being oppressed. Leave the neighborhood as is - everyone whines about neglect, disinvestment and "teh por" being oppressed. It's a lose/lose situation

On the other hand, dump a ton of money into it without really doing much and let the money settle in the pockets of developers (plenty of $5M+ 10-unit "transit-oriented subsidized housing" renovations and whatnot) and politicians - nothing changes, the neighborhood is still a dump, the money is gone, but everyone is happy. Go figure...

Dudley is not an easy drive from 93

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There is no such thing as

a quick shot up Mass Ave to downtown

and i don't understand how

it's five minutes from 93

I live in Quincy. When I go up the Expressway, get off at Southampton and go up Mass Ave, that is not in any way, shape or form a quick shot. It's a busy hassle of a road with erratic drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. (Note: It's quicker and easier to get off at Southampton than the Mass Ave Extension)

Maybe you mean Melnea Cass to Washington Street or as I like to call it "Which lane am I supposed to be in again? Oh, Jeez! Not that one!"

The Innovation District is, as someone else has already pointed out, right behind South Station and right between 93 and the Mass Pike.

Even if it weren't so close to two major highways, I'd still rather be driving down near the Convention Center, Children's Museum, Fan Pier, the Seaport, and so on than Dudley which boasts a very large bus terminal and maybe (fingers crossed!) a Starbucks.

Close (literally), but a little off

That *organization that shall remain nameless* was actually offered space at one or more buildings next to Ruggles Station. If anything, it made more sense than Dudley Square: right on the Orange Line and several Commuter Rail Lines, plus a myriad of MBTA bus routes and other shuttles services. For drivers, it was only a little ways further down (admittedly hectic-during-rush-hour) Melnea Cass Boulevard, but there is already a parking lot there that could've been expanded, as opposed to Dudley where everything would have to have been built from scratch.

Now, as far as a Starbucks in Dudley Square--most definitely: as the are continues to gentrify, people are not going to be content with just the Dunkies in the the Station--though I expect Dunkies will put up some resistance.

As far as Tasty Burger--that's an even tougher sell since Joe's Famous Steak Subs, the Dudley Square Grille and Ugi's Subs have a healthy competition going within an 1/4 mile radius of each other and the Station.

Can't say

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I can't say if you are correct or not. All I can say is that, this same organization now has space next to another rail station (can't even say where cuz it'll give it away), where they will have lots of open space to build to suit their needs vs Dudley or Ruggles :-)

I live not too far off of the

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I live not too far off of the square and all of those places you mentioned suck garbage compared to Tasty Burger. I'm honestly surprised most of the "restaurants" in Dudley Square are even able to pass health inspections. Joe's isn't too bad, but the others are poorly maintained and dirty.

I think you mean Dudley to Roxbury Crossing

But, let's look at two factors that differentiate the two areas, both of which I've lived in:

1) That section of JP was never really a "blighted" area as compared to Dudley Square--JP Licks at one "end" and Ferris Wheels at the other "end" have been anchors in the neighborhood for decades, not to mention numerous sit-down restaurants that the townies have, and still frequent. Where's the bike shop or ice cream shop in Dudley Square--try finding one in all of Roxbury!

And why use an ice cream shop, a bike shop and a sit-down restaurant as examples of a strong neighborhood--because these are establishments that people are apt to willingly congregate at with friends and neighbors, even if, in the case of a bike shop, it's just to stop by and chat with the owner/employees. Dudley has plenty of great pizza/sub shops, but it's pretty much in-and-out for most people--it's not like people linger in the Dudley Square Grille for the free Wifi!

2) The walk from Centre Street to Green Street Station is an almost entirely residential walk down quiet streets (Green or Seaverns), streets that, somebody walking alone at night would feel mostly comfortable walking. Contrast that with Malcolm X Boulevard which is a long stretch of barrenness--you have the two schools and College on one side and the other side is a gigantic rock wall. If anything, it's almost too quiet.

Dudley is kind of rockin'

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I think you're going to see some big changes in that neighborhood. I've lived there for over a decade and it's all changing. I believe it, even if the silverline is surreal. I hope it has more business and improved services, but doesn't drive the families out. I'll take kids playing little league over a starbucks anyday.

Starbucks not as bad as Whole Foods

Starbucks actually works well in many neighborhoods since most people see it as an "alternative" (to Dunkies) rather than "high end." The one in Target at South Bay does brisk business despite being at the crossroads at some of the lowest-income areas in the City.

Now, when the Whole Foods comes, sound the alarm about driving working-class families out: just ask Hyde Square, JP!

Not so sure about biotech company

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But Starbucks and Tasty Burger make perfect sense - given the current crime situation in Dudley, all those teachers would be better off being able to grab lunch without having to leave the building.


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Tasty Burger? Lol the only thing I can think of is Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction!!! Tee hee tee hee