The latest meeting of the Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force focused on the recent Dudley Square Retail Survey. Peg Barringer, Partner of FinePoint Associates, managed the survey and presented an analysis and major findings.
There were approximately 1,300 survey respondents. The survey was circulated to area businesses, stakeholders, and community residents, as well over 230 Boston Public Schools employees who will be moving to Dudley Square after the completion of the new Dudley Square Municipal Office Facility.
Some clear signals were received by the survey analysts:
- Dudley Square at this time is not a destination retail center, but more of a local neighborhood and convenience retail center
- There is a desire for full-service, healthy offering restaurants that could provide a social gathering place with entertainment.
Maureen Anderson, Senior Project Manager for the City’s project team, stated that this survey is one part of an overall effort to understand Dudley retail and to inform the process of attracting retail tenants to the new Dudley Municipal Center. She explained that the facility design incorporates infrastructure (power, plumbing, ventilation) for food tenants, so that it could accommodate at least one restaurant.
Community members and Task Force members raised suggestions about the role of business incubators to help attract local artisans and merchants to Dudley Square and the Dudley Municipal Center.
There was a general discussion about how the City will procure retail tenants. It was suggested that a future meeting could include a presentation on the procurement of retail tenants, and the requirements that a municipality must meet when leasing retail space.
Task Force member Joyce Stanley noted that an updated employee parking survey is now underway, so that information from that survey could be shared to improve the retail analysis.