MBTA to Abandon Warehouse in Shops Building

By Seth Daniel

The MBTA Everett Shops building is coming into greater focus this week for, perhaps, a higher and better use, with the MBTA oversight board voting to outsource the warehouse facilities in the Shops, and Mayor Carlo DeMaria calling for the Wynn Resorts company to pursue adding the Shops site to its neighboring $2.1 billion casino development.

During his State of the City on Monday night, DeMaria said the City and property owners in Everett must look at the available land to make sure it is being used for the best possible development.

One of his top targets, he said, was the Everett Shops building on Lower Broadway, which is sandwiched between the resort casino and what will be the warehouse/greenhouse for Wynn Boston Harbor.

“We must look at other facilities or land with potential that is not being maximized,” he said. “Chief amongst them is the MBTA maintenance and storage facility, adjacent to the Wynn resort site by the waterfront. I think it would make an excellent site for an additional Wynn hotel and I urge Mr. Wynn and his development team to aggressively pursue this possibility with the state. I also urge the Wynn team to look across the street from their site on lower Broadway and develop that area too, into a hotel or mixed-use project that will yield more good-paying jobs for Everett residents.”

Wynn officials smiled a bit at the idea, but gave no indications.

Most in the audience thought DeMaria might be pointing to a pie in the sky idea, but most didn’t know that the MBTA had taken major action on the Everett Shops just hours before the speech.

In a meeting of the Fiscal Control Oversight Board (FCOB) Monday afternoon, the Board voted to outsource the parts warehouse function to a company in Virginia – alleged to improve efficiency and time in retrieving and moving parts.

The five-year contract is said to save millions and would start in 20 months. A Carmen’s Union representative told the State House News Service that 20 employees would transition over that time from the warehouse to other MBTA jobs.

“Let’s be clear, the T is in the business of moving people, not parts,” MBTA Manager Brian Shortsleeve said, as reported by State House News. The contract with the Mancon company, he added, is “a win-win-win for the T, our riders and the taxpayers.”

For the MBTA, the crux of the decision was about efficiency and improving what it believes is a major crack in its system.

However, for Everett, many now think it could open up major opportunities for developing the entire western side of Lower Broadway in conjunction with, or by, the Wynn team.

A spokesman for the MBTA didn’t return a phone call in time for publication, seeking comment about just how much the Shops building would be affected by the vote.

Councilor Michael McLaughlin, who represents the area, said

“I am beyond pleased for the vote that was taken regarding the shops in Everett,” he said. “I think it is the next phase of redevelopment on Lower Broadway, mainly in Ward 6. It also opens up the potential for other developers, including Mr. Wynn, to take an underutilized parcel of land and develop it into something that will be a job creator and a taxpayer for our community.”

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