The Parcel 18+ Task Force was created in response to the proposed extension of Interstate 95 through the Southwest Corridor to downtown Boston. The construction of the highway would have displaced hundreds of families and disrupted businesses in the African-American community surrounding the Corridor. In protest of this course of action, a coalition of concerned residents and businessmen organized into the Parcel 18+ Task Force, taking their name from the land designation. The task force was chaired by Marvin Gilmore, President/CEO of the Community Development Corporation of Boston.
The opposition of U.S. Secretary of Transportation William Coleman, Senator Edward Brooks, Senator Edward Kennedy and Governor Francis Sargent, in conjunction with that of the task force and other communities, led to the reversal of the decision for the highway. Instead a change to the existing public transportation system was proposed and accepted. This change resulted in the removal the MBTA's Orange Line from Washington Street, a move which helped to stimulate the economic growth now visible the length of Washington Street, to the Southwest Corridor. Three new subway stations, Ruggles, Roxbury Crossing and Jackson Square, were built, stimulating economic growth by encouraging public and private development along the Corridor.
Due to the strong downtown economy of the late 1980s, the Parcel 18+ project managed simultaneously to arrange the necessary financing and tenancy of the 167,000 square feet building next to Ruggles Station. The building was occupied, under the state legislative provision, by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry has since relocated to Chinatown. The building was recently purchased by Northeastern University and has re-emerged as the Renaissance Center.
Today, thanks to the efforts of the Parcel 18+ Task Force, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), community groups, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Southwest Corridor has become a bustling center of activity which includes the Roxbury Community College, the new Boston Police Headquarters, Whittier Street Health Center and will soon include a new shopping center.