HYANNIS — Changes are coming to the east end of Hyannis.
The long-awaited revival of the area has begun in earnest, with major redevelopment underway at the Hyannis Transportation Center and a groundbreaking for retail space and apartments on Main Street.
Much of the 11-acre transportation center will be transformed with housing units, additional capacity for bus and rail transportation and other amenities.
Across the street from the transportation complex Friday, nearly 100 community and business leaders gathered for the groundbreaking of a retail and residential project at the Furman Building at 255 Main St. When completed later this year by CapeBuilt Development, the building will be home to 3,500 square feet of retail space and 10 one- and two-bedroom apartments.
During the groundbreaking on Main Street, Robert Brennan, president of CapeBuilt Development, introduced former Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki and acknowledged him for his involvement with the project. Since early 2018, Niedzwiecki has been serving as executive director of the Southfield Redevelopment Authority, the organization leading the redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. He said he will be leaving that post next week.
“It’s good to be here,” said Niedzwiecki, praising the project as an appropriate use of density. “I’ve been in self-imposed exile for a year.”
The Heritage House Hotel, next door to 255 Main St., was sold for $7.85 million earlier this year and is undergoing a multiphase renovation.
Work is expected to begin soon on another CapeBuilt Development project, Sea Captains Row, a 60-unit, market-rate apartment complex to be built along Pleasant and South streets. Clearing of the site is expected by early summer, according to Brennan.
“Great things are happening in the east end,” said state Rep. William Crocker, R-Centerville, at the groundbreaking. “It’s a gateway to Hyannis and we’re making it more attractive.”
Crews have been working for three months on the initial phase of the transportation center project, which is expected to be completed next month.
“Our objective is to have people who don’t have vehicles to be close to public transportation,” Thomas Cahir, administrator of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, said.
The initial phase includes expanding the number of bus bays from 12 to 18 and reconfiguring them from being perpendicular to the building to parallel with the railroad tracks; constructing solar canopies over the bus bays and the east parking lot; creating 61 additional parking spaces, including more ADA-compliant spots; adding electric car charging stations; and installing pay parking stations that will allow visitors to park at the center and ride a new trolley fleet to destinations in Hyannis and Falmouth.
The solar project, being built at no cost to the CCRTA, will account for a 93 percent reduction in energy demand.
“Transit-oriented development, or TOD, includes a mix of commercial, residential, office and entertainment centered around or located near a transit station,” according to the Federal Transit Administration website. “Dense, walkable, mixed-use development near transit attracts people and adds to vibrant, connected communities.”
Similar communities have been established along MBTA commuter rail and subway routes in the Boston area.
Details of the proposed housing component of the development on the west side of the property have yet to be determined, but will likely be a mix of market rate and affordable units, according to Cahir.
“We are taking guidance from experts in the field and are talking about it almost every day,” Cahir said. “We want to do it as aggressively and as soon as we can. I’d like to see it get started in calendar year 2019.”
Plans also call for a convenience store in the terminal, Cahir said.
“The RMV effort has not advanced,” said Cahir, who said the agency came to him first with the idea. “We have a design that we worked with (state officials) to develop, but we didn’t get definitive direction. I told them a month ago, ‘To heck with it.’”
Crocker said the RMV project is still alive, and that he continues to urge state transportation officials to “take a special look at what’s going on here.”
“The RMV continues to engage in an ongoing dialogue with local officials and stakeholders about how it can best optimize services on Cape Cod,” a Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokeswoman wrote Friday in an email to the Times.