• By Carol Britton Meyer

    October 02. 2014 1:37PM

    South Hingham development strategy

    Hingham officials have long advocated for encouraging more commercial development in South Hingham.  At the same time, there are hundreds of acres of vacant land and thousands of square feet of unoccupied commercial space in that area, a large portion owned by A.W. Perry in South Shore Park.

    The Bristol family developers own 350 acres of largely undeveloped land across from the Derby Street Shoppes for which zoning changes are under consideration that would allow a mixed-use development. Construction of a Lexus dealership on that property is underway.

    During the conversation, developer Jim Bristol talked about potential plans for that large parcel. (See related story.)
    At this week's South Hingham Study Group meeting, South Shore Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Peter Forman presented an update on its South Shore Regional Development Strategy report, now in the first phase, prepared by Market Street Services, Inc. The process is led by a steering committee.

    The report seeks to 'weave together' a narrative of the South Shore's economic and demographic dynamics, recent trends, competitive position, and to a degree future opportunities 'as a first step in determining the strategic blueprint' for the South Shore to pursue sustainable, high-value growth in employment and wages and greater wealth for current and future residents, Forman said.

    A key part of the Chamber's mission is to help local officials maintain or build strong communities. Its service area includes Hingham, Cohasset, Hanover, Hull, Marshfield, Quincy, Scituate, Weymouth, and other South Shore towns.

    The report is key to the Chamber's development of a strategic plan to expand the region's economic base and to strengthen the South Shore's desirability as a place to live and work.

    This strategy will leverage several large development projects already underway or in the planning stages that could change the region's future in both positive and negative ways in addition to considering the challenges facing South Shore communities, including Hingham.

    The Chamber believes that a regional perspective combined with actions on the part of local communities is the best approach toward 'regional prosperity.'

    The first phase -- a competitive assessment -- combines research and insights from business, community, and political leaders that will lead to a 'realistic understanding of the region's potential opportunities and key challenges to building a stronger South Shore,' the report states.

    Part one provides a detailed assessment of the South Shore's competitiveness as a place to live, work, visit, and do business as compared with others parts of the state and the surrounding area. The well-educated local labor force is part of the South Shore's attraction.

    Phase two involves a target business analysis that will identify the economic sectors that are best positioned to drive future growth and economic development.

    Phase three will be a regional development strategy, and the final phase an implementation plan that will provide a 'road map' for the future. The report is expected to be finished by next spring.

    The Chamber serves in an advisory capacity and is not a state agency.