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Looped in: How 135 affordable units rose up on River Street

May 12, 2023

ribbon cutting

A Dorchester Reporter story

Brothers Deli is an essential part of Mattapan Square, opening at 7:30 a.m. seven days a week to serve up hearty breakfasts, scrambled eggs and grits, and other fare for the steady stream of people coming in off Blue Hill Avenue. Nine years ago, it was also the site of a fateful meeting between three state lawmakers who had just toured a MBTA-owned vacant lot on River Street, a four-minute walk away, across from the terminus of the Mattapan trolley line.

Considered one of the last buildable spots in the area, the 2.57-acre lot, primarily used for parking, had been the subject of multiple requests for proposals (RFPs) in the years before then. Each effort fell short. In 2007, a recession led to the collapse of a community development corporation’s proposal, while in 2012, no proposals came in.

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