We have some big news to share this week. The Boston Department of Neighborhood Development has officially designated the Dorchester Bay EDC the developer of the lot on the corner of Bowdoin Street and Topliff Street in the Bowdoin-Geneva-Meetinghouse Hill commercial district with the Co-op as the anchor tenant.
Plans are underway to choose an architect, and the building will be designed with the help of community input. The building will include 7500 sq ft for the co-op, with 5,000 sq ft for the retail store. In addition to the co-op, there will be space for like-minded, complementary businesses in the building. These might include a local credit union or bank branch, a cafe/bakery, and perhaps another store selling items that we won’t have in the co-op, like fresh fish. The second floor will include community gathering space and offices for community groups and organizations working on business and co-op development. The building will be a model of innovative green design.
The roof of the building will feature a rooftop garden where we will grow fresh produce to sell in the co-op. In addition, it will serve as a demonstration and educational resource garden for the community.
Now that we have an official developer and a definite designated location, we have one year to finish the planning process and raise the money before we can begin building. We will be conducting a capital campaign to raise $2.5 million, which will cover the costs of the interior build-out, equipment, IT systems and inventory as well as start up staffing and all other costs associated with starting a store. We’re confident that we will be able to raise the money through a combination of grants, loans, and member equity. We will be looking to our members and supporters for help with this process—so don’t be shy about making suggestions for foundations or funders that might be interested in our project. We are thrilled to begin the next step in bringing a neighborhood co-op to fruition.