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Mayor cuts ribbon celebrating development of East Boston business incubator

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  June 5, 2012 09:50 AM

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined with John and Melissa Tyler, the developers of the new business incubator project, to cut the ribbon. From left: Clark Moulaison, executive director of East Boston Main Streets; John Tyler; Menino; Melissa Tyler; and Ernani DeAraujo, East Boston coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined dozens of East Boston residents who gathered in the rain Saturday to celebrate the creation of a new business incubator space for local entrepreneurs.

Neighborhood residents crowded outside the former East Boston Public Welfare Building at 154 Maverick St. to hear the mayor and the developers speak and eagerly worked their way into the long-shuttered building to get a peek at the space.

The developers, husband-and-wife team John and Melissa Tyler, are beginning a $1.5 million renovation with contributions from the City of Boston, financing by First Priority Credit Union, and more than $500,000 in owner equity.

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)
An interior hallway at 154 Maverick St.
The Tylers plan for the business incubator to include eight retail spaces on the first floor, 10 additional spaces for offices on the second floor, and two apartments on the third floor. John Tyler said the plan for the project was partly influenced by the Cambridge Innovation Center near MIT and would include seminars — in English and in Spanish — for aspiring business owners, as well as access to other resources.

“It is going to be a building that is open to the whole of the East Boston community, for budding and serial entrepreneurs to get their ideas and business plans off the kitchen table, spare rooms, and desks under the stairs, and act as a springboard to growing a successful business within our neighborhood,” said John Tyler.

“Our goal is that they are so successful that they outgrow our space and wish to move into a bigger retail or office space in our commercial district.”

The business incubator has been a dream of the Tylers for years, starting with a process begun in 2007 by the Department of Neighborhood Development to determine a suitable use for the building, which was transferred to city ownership after the state ceased use of the building around two decades ago.

“It has taken us a long time to get from the initial walk-through of this building to this time where we can finally get our hands dirty and start the renovation process,” said John Tyler, who credited community supporters with helping the project get zoning approvals and offering many kinds of assistance through the five-year process.

Menino thanked the Tylers for having the patience to see their project through the process to be designated as the developer and secure the necessary approvals and financial support. He also praised First Priority Credit Union for reinvesting in the community.

Menino said that the development of the business incubator, alongside other development such as the new East Boston Public Neighborhood Center in Maverick Square and the branch library under construction at the north end of Bremen Street Park, showed that the community was constantly improving.

“I always say that this is the next neighborhood in Boston that will really shine,” Menino said.

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow East Boston on Twitter: @YourEastBoston.

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Dozens gathered on Maverick Street outside the new business incubator building for the ceremony, despite intermittent rainfall.

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