The city gives you an unused old bank branch - quick, what do you do with it for a year and a half?

Old bank branch in Uphams Corner

The city is soliciting bids from people who think they could really do something with the old Bank of America branch at 555 Columbia Rd. in Uphams Corner for the 12 to 18 months it would otherwise sit empty until the city puts up a new library branch there.

In a request for ideas, the city is looking for people who think they can "activate" the space starting this summer, as part of an overall plan to create an "arts innovation district" in a neighborhood centered on the Strand Theater.

Some possible ideas would include using the building as a gallery for local artists, a patform for small businesses and spaces for small community gatherings and events.

Proposals are due by 5 p.m on May 4, with walk-through tours on April 12, between 3 and 7 p.m. and on April 18 between 8 and 11 a.m.

Neighborhoods: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Coding School for Teens

How about an after school coding club for young people? It could be a summer camp too. MIT, Google or Microsoft could run it and hire local teachers to help facilitate it.

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Bang!!!

Another awesome idea! Believe me, I've been screaming that for years, even more so since Vlad and his pals defeated our mighty military machine with a few kids with laptops.

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Will the city be giving away

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Will the city be giving away this building for $1 just like what they sold the Welfare building for on Maverick Street in East Boston.

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No

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Did you read the article? It is being put out on loan for a temporary use.

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I think...

A minority owned dispensary to serve the under served would be nice.

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I second that

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A MMJ RMD would go nicely here. A bank is superb spot for one of these.

Just look at New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Brookline. It's in the old Brookline Savings Bank on Route 9. Totally good use of a building

(and says alot about Brookline Savings who still owns the building that they are willing to take a risk on renting to an RMD. And it's worked out well for them)

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No, it says

a lot about the influence Howard Kessler has in this town. NETA has not been an example of a good dispensary that cares for it's patients, seeing how they sold tainted weed to the public and the DPH could have cared less.

Wonder why that was in the state where how many people died from faulty compounding?

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Rolls Eyes

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seeing how they sold tainted weed to the public and the DPH could have cared less

You have no idea what the testing program is for this stuff, do you.

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Yes

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I agree. He also doesn't understand that MOST WEED has mold on it. It's from the curing process.

Go to California or Colorado, a good chunk of the weed out there has mold and wouldn't pass MDPH standards.

It's also why many RMD's here put boost packs in. They dry out weed on purpose so it doesn't mold. Then use boost paks in the packing process to moisten it up when you sell it.

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NO. NOPE. GOD NO

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"MOST WEED has mold on it."

This is SO COMPLETELY WRONG it's legitimately dangerous. If you can see mold on your weed then you are doing it horribly wrong and will get sick. The rule is if you see mold during growing you cut it out and throw it away. If you get mold during curing, you throw it away. MOLD IS BAD. VERY BAD. DO NOT SMOKE MOLD.

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As an experienced, non-commercial grower...

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This is wicked off-topic, as the whole idea of a short-term dispensary is silly, but...

I agree with hux - properly cured and handled cannabis should have *no* active mold. The (proper) use of boost packs should not make a difference. If there's mold present, someone did something wrong.

Now, it may be the case that MDPH standards are unrealistically high for an agricultural product - I'm not familiar with them, since I do not grow for resale or profit. Certainly, it would be hard to produce anything in this part of the world that didn't have the occassional mold spore present - unless commercial growers were required to use ISO4 clean-rooms (which, fyi, would be insane).

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You can't win

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Ugh you're one of those people. Same people I'm starting to really dislike on /r/bostrees on reddit.

Gotta complain about EVERYTHING. Nothing is ever good enough or has some conspiracy theory behind it.

I get your point, but I think my point was that a BANK felt it was OK to rent to a RMD. That says a lot, regardless of your point about Kessler.

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Now, now

NETA is behind a lot of shady shit, as is Patriot Care. Why else do they feel the need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists? Nonetheless, this will all be moot shortly.

Then ask why Healthy Pharms is closed.

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Only a year and a half

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You complain about tainted weed, then you want a popup dispensary?

Qualifying the facility and getting the site licenses takes much longer than they could stay.

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Did you read the article?

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I'm pretty sure any retail that can be in place before this summer, and run for 18 months max - is as close to 'pop-up' as makes little difference.

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Pay attention

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Anything in that location is a popup by definition, dear. 18 months and GONE. That's it.

Moving a controlled substance business is a tricky thing - not worth the effort for 18 months.

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Actually, It might be older

The façade of the building is from 1918, but the building itself may be a 1870's commercial / social building that was adapted and renovated during WWI.

If you look at it from the side, it looks like an adaptive reuse of that Winthrop Hall in the attachment.

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Shawmut

I remember working on the cameras there back when it was a Shawmut.

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Old school library.

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No electronics at all. Real books. A quiet place for people to read and study.

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YES!

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YES!

Especially because the current library sits in a former swimming pool. Really, it does.

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Crazy idea

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I would talk to various members of the neighborhood, ask them what they would like to see there, see if we can find a consensus and then try to build/run that to the best of my ability?

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And then you invariably get .

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And then you invariably get . . . wait for it . . . loosely defined "Youth Center" that no youths want to go to. Or, if in JP, Trader Joe's.

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Just Did That Across The Street

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Dudley Square Neighbors just had their community What-Should-We-Do-With-This-Building? open house a couple of days ago at the vacant Citizens Bank building directly across the street. (And 100 yards away, there is currently a What-Should-We-Do-With-This-Building? campaign being run by the CDC that owns the building at the Dudley St. corner where the Payless Shoes was.)

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With only 18 months to occupy

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With only 18 months to occupy the space it seems like the people using the space would have to have something ready to go fast.

I see two very viable options. 1) The Dorchester Artist community uses the space for local artists to showcase their work in a year long series with all proceeds going to the upkeep of their other facilities. Think of it like a year long fundraiser. This would also allow multiple residents to have access to the space.

Another viable option would be for a group like this one

http://www.bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2017/08/dorchester_grou...

to come in and do the reverse. Have several viable small businesses use up different rooms in the space and at the end of the 18 month span help find the most viable options actual store front space in the area. Imagine having a small business idea and being just close enough to touch it but not close enough to pull it off. A situation like this could give someone that last push they need.

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Unused?

Fairly certain that building has seen some use. Unoccupied? Empty?

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How about seasonal uses

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Since the goal is to not have whatever is in there in the short run in there in the long run, what about finding uses that would change from summer to winter? I'm not sure if Uphams Corner has a farmers market, but something like that would be good. The thing that Trillium did in Roslindale Square this past winter was a success that probably could be exported. A haunted house in October. Christmas fair in December. Popup registrations for school, sports, or whatever. Taking it away from a single use might allow for some interesting activities.

Also, it really seems like some of you are a little bit obsessed with Mary Jane.

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As you would say to others

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You're really planning to go to Uphams Corner for your medical needs? Not enough parking downtown for you?

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Sure!

I will definitely make the trip! And I used to go to the corner of Morton and Blue for my medicinal needs in the past, you?

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It should have revolving uses

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It should have revolving uses of about 1-2 months each with one or two themes for each time period. Such as - showcase local artists AND promote local art galleries and classes. Next month could have information about how to get a passport AND showcase trips tours. Next month showcase photographs by locals AND provide information about photography classes, computer enhancement/printing, maybe even a contest for Best Photograph. Next month could feature Things You Can Do For Free in Boston and provide information about free museum days and other freebies available to residents AND provide assistance in hooking people up with said freebies, maybe even hold a raffle of tickets to something in the area.
The idea is to have a revolving door of people coming back again and again AND possibly continue this concept even after it transitions into a library.

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I think a gang outreach

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I think a gang outreach center would be helpful. Try to educate, job train, and give structure and support to get them out of the dead end of violence and into more opportunities. Something different than other programs which are in many instances have a homeless shelter-based atmosphere. Somewhere where humans can go and feel dignified.

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Homeboy Industries

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A grest idea and prototype, 30 yrs and going strong in LA county

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Why?

There already is a ton of social service programs in the neighborhood.

Are you familiar with the Kroc / Salvation Army Center around the corner and up Dudley Street?

How many places does a community need that is "outreach" to those who may not want outreach?

How about something that benefits the 99% of others not doing the ASBO thing?

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On the same block is for sale

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On the same block is for sale. It already has a billiard hall, a bowling alley, and above it, the top floor is huge vacant room with high ceilings. Bingo, there's your dancehall.

(It's like a tiny piece of Detroit has been dropped onto the 500 block of Columbia over the last 6 months.)

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That's awesome!

I need to look into that, pass it along to some friends who might be interested.

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Fox Hall

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The subject line should have said . .

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Temporary remote city services center

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Computer terminals, a few employees, some copies of official forms...

Get some portion of all city services available completed on the spot or with follow-up from city hall after the remote center submits your paperwork for you.

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Mattress/furniture store

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A mattress store can complete its lifecycle in 18 months. It will be 9 months of Grand Opening followed by 9 months of Going Out of Business.

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