Proposal to Move McDonalds Still Upsets Allston Residents

The Boston Redevelopment Authority held a community meeting last night to discuss for the second time a proposal to relocate Western Ave.’s McDonald’s 75 feet from its current Harvard-owned location in the Brighton Mills shopping center.

The proposal to relocate McDonald’s was filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority on July 29. If approved, the restaurant at 360 Western Ave. would move east, closer to the street, to accommodate the extension of Telford St. The expanded street would provide an efficient drive-through lane for McDonald’s customers.

According to Louis Miller, the lawyer representing The Community Builders, Inc. a development firm working on relocating McDonald’s, the project, approved in January, is currently ahead of schedule.

The Allston residents who attended the meeting continued to express the same reservations they did at the first meeting about the relocation, which took place on Aug. 12.

“The redevelopment of McDonald’s has not considered the six years of urban design and community planning for all of Western Ave.,” said Jane McHale, an Allston resident. “This single-story, stand-alone building will [affect] the design aspects of everything around it, and that is a travesty to the community and to the BRA.” Residents had been hoping for a multi-story development instead.

During both meetings, representatives for McDonald’s said that the drive-through accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the restaurant’s business.

Both Harvard and the Charlesview Board of Directors have advocated the relocation. Through a land swap deal with the University, the Board plans to move residents out of the current Charlesview residential complex, which comprises 213 aging low-income housing units located across from the University’s Allston Science Complex construction site, to a yet-to-be constructed neighborhood approximately half mile away.

“The proposal will bring Charlesview residents closer to the day when they will enjoy new and improved housing,” wrote University spokeswoman Lauren M. Marshall in an e-mailed statement last month. She noted that moving McDonald’s is a preparatory step in the process of building the new Charlesview residence because it will make the new location more accessible.

But some residents, who made it clear at the meeting that their concern was not related to McDonald’s as a business, placed the blame on Harvard for not investing in improving the neighborhood.

“Harvard has lost all interest in developing in Allston in any way that will be conducive to their presence here,” Brent Whelan ’73 said after the meeting. “There is no enlightened development... The worst possible message is neglect and cheap solutions.”

—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at xyu@college.harvard.edu.

Tags