Burlington To Create Walkable Mixed-Use Plan For Mall Road

The town received a state MassDevelopment grant to develop a master plan for the corridor.

March 10, 2021 : Patch, by Christopher Huffaker

BURLINGTON, MA — The town of Burlington will develop a plan for a walkable mixed-use redevelopment of the Burlington Mall Road corridor, the state said Tuesday in announcing a round of grant funding.

The town was awarded $85,000 in MassDevelopment "Site Readiness Program" funds for the project. 

Economic Development Director Melisa Tintocalis said she has been working on projects like this since she began working for the town about a year ago. The town applied for the grant in December.

"We are very excited to get the grant to help us plan the Town's vision for the future of this corridor," Town Administrator Paul Sagarino said.

The money will be used to "prepare a master plan that will provide a development vision and implementation strategy for redeveloping the Town's Burlington Mall Road corridor into a walkable mixed-use district," according to the state release.

The grant is part of town efforts to put the town in an "athletic stance" as market preferences shift — particularly needed after the coronavirus accelerated declines in big box retail, Tintocalis said.

"How do we position that site, the corridor, as a place that people want to live and be?" Tintocalis asked.

The money will help the town conduct a market analysis, some site planning and transportation infrastructure studies, among other things. The town could go back for future rounds of MassDevelopment funding, Tintocalis said.

"The Mass Development grant will help us kick off a process that will explore redevelopment in commercial areas with 'underperforming asphalt' and plan for more walkable infill villages that strategically mix elements with added density to make for a successful and resilient Burlington of the future," she said.

The planning and zoning phase, which will require Town Meeting votes, could take 12 to 18 months, Tintocalis said. Redevelopment of the corridor would take years longer.

Town officials also plan to bring together residents and other community members to talk about the potential redesign of the corridor, she said.

The state announced 10 site readiness grants totaling $3.148 million Tuesday for redevelopment work like master planning and feasibility studies. The largest grant, for $880,000, went to Pittsfield.

"Our administration is committed to helping communities achieve their economic development goals, and we will continue to work with the public and private sectors to ensure Massachusetts remains a great place to do business," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. "The Site Readiness Program addresses both goals by helping local partners advance key sites to shovel-ready status, and we look forward to these awards supporting projects that create jobs and revenue in their communities."