Mission Hill Main Street Revitalization Plan *
The Mission Hill Main Streets district was struggling to capitalize on excellent accessibility to surrounding Boston resident neighborhoods and the Longwood Medical Area (LMS) – home to one of the largest employment centers in the region. Negative perceptions of the district, a small geographic presence, and increasing use of ground floor space for overflow medical offices and administrative space continually put merchants at a disadvantage in their efforts to increase visibility and customer base.
- How can the “leakage” of customers to other business districts be stopped?
- Can the LMA become a partner for positive change and direct employees to shop and dine in the district?
- How can the diversity of Latino, Irish, Thai and other independent ethic businesses provide a marketing advantage for Mission Hill merchants?
Challenges were met by focusing on branding and public relations to help the district overcome its negative image with some in the community and with the adjacent Longwood Medical Area. The team also capitalized on One Brigham Circle development as one strong retail and office anchor for the district and proposed a similar anchor at the MBTA station at the far end of the commercial district to tightly define boundaries and create strong activity centers.
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- Used intersection, parking and traffic calming improvements to transform image of the district from unsafe commercial area to friendly neighborhood village street
- Created public art opportunities and low-cost/high impact improvements for vacant lots and dilapidated storefronts
- Encouraged the combining of development parcels and adjacent buildings to overcome obsolete commercial footprints and lure larger chain stores and regional markets
- Used One Brigham Circle as an anchor to draw similar investment at the other end of the district at Roxbury Crossing — creating vibrant commercial anchors at either end of the commercial district on Tremont Street
- Encouraged the MBTA to meet needs of the people who live, work and shop in Mission hill while maintaining its diversity and unique character
* MIT “Revitalizing Urban Main Streets” Practicum, Susan Silberberg and Karl Seidman, Lecturers