Davis Square Redevelopment Plans Likely To Displace Somerville Businesses

Photo: James Rojas / WBZ NewsRadio

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Blueprints for a multi-use building on the corner of Elm and Grove Streets in Somerville have gotten the thumbs-up to go ahead and begin redevelopment work, much to the dismay of regular Davis Square consumers and to the uncertainty of surrounding business owners.

The four-story structure, approved by Somerville's Planning Board, is going to reportedly include a lab and commercial space, likely displacing multiple nearby restaurants and retailers. The project from Scape Davis Square, LLC could take up to two years to complete the renovations.

WBZ's James Rojas was there to speak with neighbors of the redevelopment, many of which said there's a lot up in the air when it comes to where existing businesses will go, including McKinnon's Meat Market.

"We really don't know much about it to be honest; we just know that's something going to happen with building but it's hard to say what's going to happen with us," McKinnon's Meat Market Manager Rigo Aleman said.

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Other nearby businesses to the project includes When Pigs Fly, Elm Tibetan Cuisine, The Burren, Dragon Pizza, and the Sligo Pub.

During the first neighborhood meeting for the project, developers answered questions and concerns from neighbors, who asked about the details of displacement of residents. Project managers said they are "very mindful" of the impact construction will have on the neighborhood, with a goal to keep most work off Elm Street and less disruptive to the flow of traffic.

In terms of residential improvements, developers say many apartments at the project site were "grandfathered in" and not up to code with current ADA/accessibility standards. For example, many of the living spaces were not built with apt storage room, officials said.

Still, plenty of customers are unhappy about the changes, like one resident who was shopping at When Pigs Fly.

"It's a real bummer— progress sucks. Quote me," said one customer.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports.

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