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Some Roxbury residents concerned about plans to redevelop vacant lot

Some Roxbury residents concerned about plans to redevelop vacant lot
Some Roxbury residents concerned about plans to redevelop vacant lot 02:59

By Courtney Cole, WBZ-TV

BOSTON - One piece of land with endless possibilities. After years of false starts, there may be a big step tonight toward transforming a spot in Roxbury right across from Boston Police Department Headquarters.

There are two bids for the property and the two plans share similarities. The land in question is right off of Tremont Street, blocks from Melnea Cass Boulevard.

After many years and many proposals, the 7.7 acres of vacant land that has come to be known as Parcel 3, could soon be developed into stores, labs and affordable housing.

Parcel P3
Parcel P3 in Roxbury could be redeveloped into labs, stores and affordable housing  CBS Boston

People who live and work in Roxbury have mixed feelings about new development. 

"To be able to have something put there that can help the community, help the tax base, is a very good idea. And I'm definitely all for it!" exclaimed Dr. Jean Charles. Charles said he's been working as a doctor in the community for the last 16-17 years.

"I am more prone to preserve space for like gardening, farming and less development. That's my personal opinion," said Marcia Barrett Foster, who told WBZ-TV she's been a resident of Roxbury nearly 30 years.

There are two teams going head-to-head for a mixed-used project that will transform the area.

The proposal from The Tishman Speyer Group includes, but is not limited to:

• 498 rental units that are 100% income restricted
• 62 homeownership units, of which 15 will be live-work units, 67% Income-Restricted
• Job training and workforce development anchored by the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
• Partnership with the Museum of African American History to create a Roxbury Museum
• Over 67,000 square feet of ground floor retail and community space
• Over 210,000 square feet of open space (That's about 64% of the site)

The proposal from The HYM Investment Group includes, but is not limited to:

• 308 affordable housing units for existing, local, low- and middle-income families and individuals
• These housing units will include approximately 144 for-sale units, which will provide opportunities for homeownership
• Expanding the Longwood Medical District, by delivering approximately 700,000 SF of life sciences space to the site
• Working and investing in the local community to help residents learn and develop the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in lucrative career tracks
• Integrating Parcel 3 into Nubian Square through carefully planned transit and bike lanes as well as gracious pedestrian connections to the adjacent schools, fields, and Whittier Choice development

Some have concerns about being priced out.

"People that are up here, we can't afford it! So they're going to kick us out," Joseph Escarraman told WBZ.

Others just want to make sure they're not left out of the conversation.

"The only concern would be to make sure the community is involved, that we have a stake in it and at the end of the day, we've benefit from it," Dr. Charles told WBZ. 

CLICK HERE to learn more about Parcel 3 and to participate in the virtual public meeting.

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