To the Editor:
I think I can speak for the majority of the many attendees at the Cedar Grove Civic Association meeting on Tuesday evening when I say that we appreciate Mr. Tom Cifrino and his development team, including representatives from Boston Sports Clubs, for engaging the community in the conversation regarding what will be done with the former Rite-Aid space as well as the adjacent parking lot. We are impressed that BSC plans to make much needed aesthetic improvements to the building façade. We appreciate their stated desire to actively participate in our neighborhood. Moreover, we are excited for this chance to finally “get it right” with regards to the parking lot that is such an important piece of Adams Village.
We understand that the parking lot is private property, but the reality of the situation is that over decades, as we have all parked in the lot while we have lunch at Gerard’s, coffee at Greenhills, or attend a wake at O’Connor’s, the precedent has been set that it is a de facto public lot.
Unfortunately, the plan titled “Superior Real Estate Parking Lot Plan Option 4” (we would love to see options 1-3 and 5-?) that was shown to the meeting attendees falls drastically short of what this neighborhood deserves. To reserve only 8 spaces for “community use” out of 198 available spaces is ludicrous.
Boston Sports Clubs is a multi-million dollar corporation. They didn’t throw a dart at a map of Boston and decide on Adams Village. They have a business plan that has worked in 30 other locations, and that plan led them to our neighborhood. They know the maximum rent they will pay per square foot of space. They know what the membership dues need to be in order to keep them profitable. They know how many employees it will take to operate a club consisting of the proposed square footage. They know how many parking spaces they need to support that space.
Questions about these aspects of the plan were asked on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, none were answered. This multi-million dollar corporation is asking for a commitment from this neighborhood. We need the same from them.
We must recognize Mr. Cifrino’s right to maintain a profitable business and use his property as he sees fit within the bounds of what is acceptable to the community. Mr. Cifrino must also recognize that it is the people of this neighborhood who have kept him and his tenants profitable for decades. There is a middle ground, and we can find it.
This is our chance. Let’s get it right.