A large section of the key parking lot in Adams Village will re-open in the coming days as the first phase of an ambitious renovation project winds to its end. The privately-owned parking lot behind 540 Gallivan Boulevard has long served as the village’s catch-all car depot. It has been fenced off for the last seven weeks to allow construction crews to resurface the space and add new traffic calming features and lighting fixtures.
The parking lot project is a prelude to a renovation of the adjacent building, which will house a Boston Sports Club, set to open in the spring. The sports club has secured city approval for the location, which was previously home to a Rite Aid pharmacy, which closed abruptly last spring.
The renovations to the lot were sorely needed, but also widely dreaded because of the potential disruption to local business. And the closure of the last month-and-a-half has made finding a parking spot a tricky proposition for those who frequent the village this fall. It also prompted organizers of the Irish Heritage Festival, held over Columbus Day weekend, to relocate the event several blocks away to Florian Hall.
Tom Cifrino, the president of the Supreme Realty Trust that owns the building at 540 Gallivan and parking lot, says that work on the upper section of the lot— closest to Adams Street— was largely completed last Thursday.
“We are now waiting on the paving job to cure out before we let cars on it,” Cifrino said on Monday. “We think it will be striped this week and we will move construction fence down to lower lot. And then we’ll open up upper lot for the neighborhood, customers, etc.”
Cifrino said that the upper and lower lots each contain about 100 spots. The lower lot is expected to be completed by the end of November, weather permitting.
“I am very happy with how it’s come out. The Rogan Hennessey paving company have done a great job. We’ve used them for years and years. They are very professional. The job (on the upper lot) was scheduled to take eight weeks and they’re right on target.”
Cifrino explained that both parking lots needed to be re-graded and received fresh base coats of asphalt. A new underground conduit for street light poles has already been built for both lots.
Once the upper lot is ready to receive vehicles, Cifrino said that signage will be posted that will notify the public about parking restrictions of 1-2 hours. No towing is likely to take place immediately, but the restrictions will be strictly enforced once the Boston Sports Club begins its tenancy next year.
Sean Weir, president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association, said that Cifrino has been very accommodating to the concerns of residents and merchants throughout the reconstruction process.
“I think it looks great. Tom Cifrino has been very reasonable and he’s listened to our ideas about the parking limits and security cameras. He’s been nothing but professional and straightforward,” said Weir, who ran a community meeting that reviewed the Boston Sports Club proposal earlier this year.
By and large, Weir said, people who shop and work in the village learned to adapt to the inconveniences caused by the lot’s temporary closure.
“They found alternate places to park, maybe went around a couple of more times, but for most part people got used to it,” said Weir.
Weir said that most people understand that the parking lot is privately owned and that Boston Sports Club will have first dibs on prime parking spots near their entrance once it opens next year. He says folks who use the lot need to be mindful of following the signage that will be posted.
“I am worried about people abusing it, not parking in marked lanes and obeying the signage. You have to respect it. If people start to abuse it and if the tenant doesn’t have the spots they need down the line, the owners could shut it off. No one wants that.”
Boston Sports Club and Cifrino’s Supreme Realty Trust inked a ten year lease for the building last spring. The sports club company is finalizing its architectural design for 17,000 square feet of space on the building’s first floor— which will be retrofitted to their specifications in a job that is likely to begin this winter.