This fall, two finishing touches are due to top-off phase one of the Enterprise Center, a $100 million residential and commercial development in downtown Brockton. Based around the former Brockton Enterprise newspaper’s headquarters, which was built in the late 1800s, the first phase of the two-part project features 52,000 square feet of commercial/office space and 10,000 square feet of retail and artist exhibition space. There are also 113 residential units, including the Enso Flats 42-home artist live-work community, and Center 50, which features 71-market rate and affordable rated homes.
The first finishing touch is a permanent signature art installation in the Enso Flats lobby gallery. The second is filling the 4500-square foot restaurant space, which is ready for a tenant to move in and cook up. There’s nothing like food and art to really set a neighborhood alight, and both should be in place this fall.
City of Champions, not urban blight
Installing an artist community at Enso Flats was a deliberate move to rehabilitate a blighted Brockton, which is called The City of Champions and is blessed with amazing architecture. Its latter-day reputation, however, is tarnished by drug abuse and violence. “We’re trying to change that notion of Brockton,” says Matt Zahler, senior project manager at Trinity Financial, the company behind projects such as One Canal Street, just off the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston East in East Boston, and now the Enterprise Center. “Much of it is perceived. I’ve gotten to know the community well in the five years since we started this project and Brockton has a diverse population and a rich culture. Center Street, where the Enterprise Center is located, is now a completely different landscape,” says Zahler. “City Hall redid their plaza and included a new amphitheater. There are concerts, there’s a farmer’s market. Things are happening in Brockton.”
Artists as urban pioneers
The Enso Flats community has been key to this effort. When Trinity Financial developed Lowell’s Appleton Mills, they saw how bringing artists into a blighted area enriches a neighborhood for the larger community. “We saw that the Lowell development was a great success,” says Zahler. “Art is so broad reaching in its definition and we wanted to mirror that at Enso Flats. We have a clothing designer, a DJ/graphic artist who does set design; we have a sculptor, a singer and a poet. We didn’t want to stick with a strict definition of what an artist is — we wanted to include anyone dedicated to creativity.”