My esteemed colleague, Roy, doesn’t like the proposed condo development at the former Beer Store site. Though I defer to Roy’s considered opinion on many things, about this I disagree; these condos are a fabulous idea.
The black-brick façade might be, ahem, an inspired choice. And three-and-a-half-storey, flat-top buildings are not my first love; they loom. These, though, are primarily aesthetic concerns, and I match plaids, so I’m no judge of beauty. The builder has every incentive to make the buildings attractive, and I trust that they will be nice.
I’m much more in love with the philosophy of the development. First, it’s a brownfield development, the very best kind. Nothing lovely was cut down, torn up, or demolished to make room for it.
Second, townhouses are affordable and create community.
And that is the best part of this new development. The way I see it¹, right now, Weston is two towns². There are the large, often unattractive, generally affordable rental buildings. With many exceptions, people in these buildings are passing through, and often don’t have a strong sense of community.
Then there are the single-family detached houses. They are lovely, old, expensive, and foster an almost cultish community. (I love the cult, to be sure, but nobody would say we are a diverse set of well-adjusted people.)
This new condos could bridge the two groups. The homes will be affordable. The many people who find a $650,000 fixer-upper a little insane³ will able to buy in Weston.
And we want those people. People who own have every incentive to make their community better. And people who own 500-square-foot affordable condos might just be more interesting, entrepreneurial, and—yes—fun than the rest of us.
These condos are the start of a new kind of building in Weston. They might also be the start of a new sort of community.
¹That’s a nice way of saying “I have no data to back this up”
² With a huge number of exceptions.
³ i.e. sane people