CAMBRIDGE — Local nonprofit organization Anchor Point recently received a windfall that will allow them to expand on their goal of helping the community of Cambridge. Donation of a substantial building is at the core of the windfall, and though the donation will help the organization, it will also help the city of Cambridge by returning a retail space to the tax rolls.
Anchor Point Inc., a nonprofit organization that came to Cambridge four years ago, has established a retail business and food bank for the needy. They also work with many local agencies to provide the community with job retention training, youth job opportunities, school readiness and family engagement. Much of this is financed through local grants and sales income at the Anchor Point Family Thrift Store on Meadow Avenue.
About a year ago, the Board of Directors at Anchor Point discussed the possibility of buying the old Metro grocery store building, adjacent to and sharing a parking lot with Walmart, with the intention of expanding their operations. The board vote indicated that the idea was before its time, and the plan was shelved for the time being.
Recently, the owners of the Metro building, in the interest of turning the vacant building into a tax write-off, contacted Anchor Point — a cause the Metro owners have contributed to in the past — and offered the building free of charge.
“We were interested last year in a possible purchase of the building,” said Alan McRae, director of Anchor Point Inc., “but decided to pass for the time being while we continued to work on coalition building and vision casting. One day recently, the owners (of the Metro building) called us with an offer to donate. We were blown away at the possibility. We thought long and hard about how to use the building and took advice from several of our partners.”
One of Anchor Point’s concerns was that the property represents a large tax base for local government, and taxes are necessary for the local government to continue providing community resources and services. It also represents a large potential for local commerce and jobs for our fellow citizens.
“A developer approached us and we had a conversation about returning the property to the marketplace,” said Mr. McRae, noting that the building was an opportunity for them to expand, but that it was an equal opportunity for development to the right investor, which would create a situation beneficial to the town.
With mutual positive outcomes in mind, Anchor Point made the decision to work with the developer to return another vital, empty commercial property into the mainstream of the local economy once again.
“We feel that positively addressing the concerns of government, business, citizens, and our organization’s needs and mission, are all met with this action plan,” Mr. McRae said.
The Metro property consists of a large building housing three retail spaces. In the immediate future Anchor Point intends to use the two smaller spaces for commercial operations related to their existing Meadow Avenue thrift store. They look forward to using their part of the retail space to provide additional job training and youth employment for the community.
“We are expanding our current operations to include a permanent farmers market, and a local artisans and vendors market,” said Director McRae. “We are very excited about what this will bring to our community and the direction of progress for Dorchester County.”
Mr. McRae said that the new farmer’s market should be debuting this spring, and will be held weekly on the eastern end of the parking lot at the Metro site. The old Metro building is in the hands of Fairchild Properties, LLC, and the group’s representatives are marketing the location to prospective retailers.
Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.