A long-vacant block in East Boston’s Maverick Square that most recently housed a funeral home could soon be reincarnated into a restaurant, retail and fitness complex.
Burlington-based Linear Retail Properties LLC has presented to a couple of neighborhood groups preliminary plans for a two-story, 25,000-square-foot commercial facility on the corner Maverick and Chelsea streets near the MBTA’s Maverick Blue Line station.
Although no official plans have been filed with the city, the early designs from Linear Retail show a streamlined glass box concept, with a coffee shop on the ground floor and more retail above.
It is very early days for the proposal, said Joel Kadis, head of leasing and development for Linear.
“It’s such a bad joke to make that it’s a dead site right now because it’s a funeral home that’s no longer operating; so we’re hoping to bring vitality to the corner,” Kadis said. “Right now there’s some voids in the retail, so we’re hoping to bring some new retailers into the square that can serve all that new residential development.”
Linear, which owns 85 retail centers in three states, acquired the corner lot in pieces, collectively paying about $3.77 million.
East Boston has experienced a residential development boom that has filled the mostly immigrant neighborhood with new faces, mostly young professionals. Kadis said he hopes the development caters to commuters, as well as long-time and new residents.
“We think that by bringing in certain retailers now we can be a catalyst for change and better serve the community,” said Kadis, adding he envisions a blend of local mom-and-pop shops, regional food chains, a sit-down restaurant, and a sports club.
Max Gruner executive director of East Boston Main Streets, which hosted a meeting on the proposal Jan. 19, said the plans were “very modern in design,” and that he is glad for the community feedback process.
“It’s an anchor corner in East Boston; it’s a really important corner for the community and for the vibrancy of the business district and the flow of life in East Boston,” Gruner said. “So all of those have been empty for a long time, which is challenging for the community and economy of East Boston. We’re absolutely dedicated to activating that corner.”