Natick’s finest new presumably temporary chain link fence extravaganza can be seen just past the Community-Senior Center and stretching from 119 to 131 East Central St. (Rte. 135 east). Natick is truly showing its metal these days.
We can debate all day whether this spectacular stretch of galvanized steel wire mesh is more or less stunning than the Natick Center display that promises to be home in the future to an enclave of pop-up shops or the now covered fencing outside the former St. Patrick’s complex, the site of a future mixed use development. You may even ask: Which is the weakest link?
But the important thing to know is that the homes fenced off and set to be leveled this coming week on East Central will pave the way for an assisted living development that prompted one online observer to quip: “We’re going to need a bigger senior center.”
The last time we recall hearing discussion of this project was at a mid-February Planning Board meeting under the agenda item dubbed “ALOOP (Assisted Living Overlay Option Plan), 119, 121, 123, 125 & 131 East Central Street.” Michael Duggan of a project developer called Anthology said the contractor hoped to start construction by this May or June. We’ve reached out to Anthology to ask if there’s a site update anywhere online that we can point you to, and will update this post if we hear back about one.
The project was earlier brought to the Planning Board in 2019 by Barberry Homes, which outlined plans or a 95,180 sq. ft. three-story building containing 86 assisted living units and 50 parking spaces. Anthology took over this project.
Update (7/26/21): Boom! down go the houses…
Read on for a round-up of other chained-off areas of Natick. Admittedly, none of these is too edgy…didn’t spy any barbed wire, for instance:
St. Patrick’s redevelopment
Stonegate Group recently gave an update on its project at 45 East Central St., the location of the former St. Patrick’s School, where a mixed use development is being erected.
The developer says its current proposal for the property consists of restaurant and retail space on the ground floor with residential units above in the main building. Four residential buildings will sit in the rear (Lincoln and Wilson Streets). The housing will include a mix of affordable and market rates.
An underground garage is part of the plan, too.
Stonegate has wrapped its fence in a handsome dark green nylon covering to give it less of a metallic look.
One South Main
This project, which nearly imploded earlier this year at the Planning Board stage, will consist of a bunch of 500 sq. ft. pop-up spaces, ideally for artisans.
The developer tonight (July 22) is slated to go before the Natick Design Review Board to show its latest plans for this one-story, 5,342 sq. ft. retail structure and other site improvements.
This development rises from the ashes of the devastating fire in July 2019 that ruined numerous businesses.
Cochituate rail trail
The chain link fencing that previously blocked off the Rte. 30 bridge has been moved to the side, leaving the fencing at the Rte. 9 bridge as the only obstacle standing in your way of traversing the route from Natick Center to Saxonville.
Expect this fence to be removed later this summer, though the contractor may still block access here and there as it puts down lines, erects safety screening, and makes other final touches. Keep up on Cochituate rail trail progress on the Natick town website.
Natick Center commuter rail station
Speaking of the rail trail….The Natick Center station is one of the MBTA’s busiest along the commuter rail, and it’s putting $36 million into improvements that focus on accessibility.
Work began in early 2020, and the goal is to finish the project next year. There haven’t been a ton of pesky commuters to get in the way of work during the pandemic, so it looks like it’s coming along well.
Construction is currently in Phase 3, which includes replacement of the pedestrian bridge, elevators and stairs from street level to the station, and installation of elevated platforms.
Boden Lane Bridge
The state transportation bond bill from January authorizes $3 million in spending to reconstruct and repair the Boden Lane Bridge next to the West Natick commuter rail station. The town awaits a notice to proceed on this.
Some neighbors would love to see the bridge stay solely a pedestrian walkway, as it is now, enveloped in chain link fencing.
Across the Boden Lane bridge in Natick pic.twitter.com/QH4BrHhi46
— Natick Report (@NatickReport) July 22, 2021
The bridge closed to vehicles in 2019 after a work crew damaged it.
Kennedy Middle School
We can only assume there is more chain link fencing beyond the signs warding off visitors this summer while work continues on the new Kennedy Middle School, which opened in January.
But we are left with a good chunk of chain on Mill Street where vehicles, equipment, and for some reason shopping carts, collect. Updates (kind of) on the project.
Zeta Fencing, which has been teaching the art of swordmanship in Natick Center for years just across the street from the One South chain link fence, doesn’t have a chain link fence of its own.
Alas, the Olympic-caliber business is moving to Ashland come September.
OK, what did we leave out….? Easy enough to add stuff. Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
And now, a closing musical number on this theme…