Tonight: Meeting eyes development at Mattapan Square T stop

Four years after a feeble economy put transit-oriented development at the Mattapan Square trolley and bus station on hold, MBTA officials are heading back to the community in a renewed effort to develop the station’s parking lot.

The meeting is set for Monday, Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch Library on Blue Hill Ave.

The parking lot will be part of a new diversity development program, sponsored by the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, that is aimed at encouraging businesses owned by minorities and women — architectural, development and engineering firms — to participate in the development process.

The 2.5-acre parcel is one of four state-owned properties that will be part of the program’s launch, according to Mark Boyle, assistant general manager for development at the MBTA. The others are in Forest Hills, Chinatown, and Framingham.

The Mattapan lot allows for 250 spaces, but the current daily use averages only about 25 vehicles a day, Boyle said.

“We’re going to require the developer to incorporate within the development a minimum of 50 spaces for commuters because it is a train station and that occupancy could grow in the future,” he added.

Two development options are available, according to the MBTA: The first concept has buses still circulating around the parking lot’s perimeter. A second concept divides the parking lot in two with a cut-through for bus traffic, setting up a new retail frontage along River Street.

MBTA officials are hoping for proposals to include a mix of commercial, retail, and residential use. The real estate and financial markets scuttled plans for a similar use of the space in 2008.

Boyle expects proposals to be submitted in January and February, with the final bidder getting selected in mid-to-late winter. Permitting will take at least six months, so construction may not start until near the end of the year, or in the following construction season.

The project will be subject to the review of community members and city officials.