Assembly Row (Assembly Sq Redevelopment) | Assembly Square | Somerville

JumboBuc

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Can they punch any streets through the building? Is the old assembly plant protected in any way?
The Kmart is a separate building from the rest of the old "Assembly Square Marketplace." It'd be logistically straight forward to tear that part down, and as far as I know there are no special protections on the building.

Hopefully an extended Canal St can also tie into the little "McGrath Hwy" stub between Mystic Ave / I-93 and Middlesex Ave. It would greatly help tie the "Assembly's Edge" lot to the greater Assembly Row area. I'm sure the developers of that project would be thrilled to see the Kmart come down.
 

kjdonovan

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Federal must be rejoicing. They've been trying to get them out of that lease for years.
Perhaps it was a wise member of this group that previously noted that Federal had been working behind the scenes with the city, trying to get them to acquire the property to get Federal out its 100 year lease with Kmart. I expect the other tenants have less robust leases. Less urgency for that move now.

I expect it may be difficult to tear down the building piece-by-piece--it is the skeleton of the original Ford assembly plant, I recall. So they would need to boot every tenent, which are (in rough order of popularity among the growing Assembly Row demographic):
- Staples
- Xmas Tree Shop
-Burlington Coat Factory
- TJ Maxx
- BB&B
- Trader Joe's

To speculate... barring a global recession, the next phase of the current FRT buildout of Assembly Row would begin in two years. Parcels 5B and 8 will be completed and occupied by summer 2021 and since the first four were completed, they are tending to do these buildings two at a time.

If they follow the same practice as before, the next to go up would be Parcels 7A and 9. They would leave Parcel 7B for materials and equipment staging like they did with Parcel 5B (the currently under construction Puma HQ). Parcels 7A and 9 then begin construction in 2021/2022 and open in 2023/2024

If they don't do all three final parcels at once, 7B would then be the last to be built under the original master plan.

That means 4-6 years until they run out of room and turn to the Assembly Marketplace for the next phase.
 

Equilibria

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I expect it may be difficult to tear down the building piece-by-piece--it is the skeleton of the original Ford assembly plant, I recall. So they would need to boot every tenent, which are (in rough order of popularity among the growing Assembly Row demographic):
I'm not saying that they'll build tomorrow, but an industrial building like this is likely to be fairly modular and easy to piece off. Remember, this has already been an assembly plant, a center-corridor indoor mall, and now a line of divided big-box stores. I bet they just need to take down one steel box of several and build a new wall in the hole.
 

George_Apley

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I liked this Kmart. It was really convenient. It's sad that they never really kept things in working condition. Half the price scanners were missing or smashed (how?). Once I found a bath mat that I wanted and the price scanner said "see shelf for price" wtf.
I don't know if Kmarts are franchised or centrally managed, but I haven't been in one since I was a kid that wasn't in a state of chaos, sadness, disorganization, and disrepair. Kmart's been phoning it in for decades.
 

JumboBuc

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Perhaps it was a wise member of this group that previously noted that Federal had been working behind the scenes with the city, trying to get them to acquire the property to get Federal out its 100 year lease with Kmart. I expect the other tenants have less robust leases. Less urgency for that move now.
Do you have a source for Kmart's "100 year lease"? I've never heard anything about this, and it would be highly atypical for a big box retailer. And if Kmart did have such a contract, they'd in all likelihood still control the rights even if their store closed, so nothing would change from Federal's perspective.

I expect it may be difficult to tear down the building piece-by-piece--it is the skeleton of the original Ford assembly plant, I recall. So they would need to boot every tenant...
The Kmart is a separate structure from the rest of the building. You can see this in the aerial view.
 

stick n move

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Once Puma HQ, the new Condo building, and then Xmbly are up, its going to be a pretty solid neighborhood with jobs, housing, entertainment, a waterfront, and transit. Theres still tons of room to expand too so we dont even know how extensive it will end up. It could really turn into something big if they want. One day it could merge into the area next door and then go on to hood business park creating a pretty substantial area.
 

kjdonovan

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Do you have a source for Kmart's "100 year lease"? I've never heard anything about this, and it would be highly atypical for a big box retailer. And if Kmart did have such a contract, they'd in all likelihood still control the rights even if their store closed, so nothing would change from Federal's perspective.
I found it, yes. It was the executive director of the Welcome Project in Somerville, a local community organization. He's a blowhard and an exaggerator but definitely in the know of local politics.

The Kmart is a separate structure from the rest of the building. You can see this in the aerial view.
I keep hearing that and I'm sure it is true, but according to mapjunction, the structure is intact with that portion as far back as the 1930s. It all looks like it is a part of the original construction. https://www.mapjunction.com/
 

F-Line to Dudley

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To be fair, I never saw a Kmart employee who seemed happy with their job. Hopefully some of them will get scooped up by other retail coming online in the area.
It varies wildly by location, thanks to Eddie Lampert's brand of conflict management that pits managers against each other at both the regional level and per-store level. Some stores (Brockton...a.k.a. "the K-mart 1992 forgot") were kept immaculate and well-staffed with happy, hard-working employees for the 0-4 customers inside at any given moment...but went paper-thin on inventory such that there were only 2-3 of any given item in-stock. Others (Allston, before it closed) had the shelves exploding onto the floor with overstock but was total anarchy on organization. Somerville sort of split the difference...messy but not Allston-messy, employees who were poorly-trained but could converse human-to-human and got by on the magic of low expectations.

I, for one, will miss getting my merch handed to me with a smile in a kitchen garbage bag because they ran out of store plastic again.
 

Lrfox

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I keep hearing that and I'm sure it is true, but according to mapjunction, the structure is intact with that portion as far back as the 1930s. It all looks like it is a part of the original construction. https://www.mapjunction.com/
This is is an incredible tool. Thanks for all but ensuring my complete lack of productivity today.
 

JumboBuc

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This is is an incredible tool. Thanks for all but ensuring my complete lack of productivity today.
Wow, yes, super cool. How have I never seen this before? Thanks for sharing, kj.
 

kjdonovan

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It is a great tool--especially for some of these industrial areas that have really transformed since the 1930s. Just to help those who have not used mapjunction before, here's a view of the Assembly Market today vs 1938 with a scroll. http://mapjunction.com/VIEWER/13224
 

whsurveyor

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I'm not saying that they'll build tomorrow, but an industrial building like this is likely to be fairly modular and easy to piece off. Remember, this has already been an assembly plant, a center-corridor indoor mall, and now a line of divided big-box stores. I bet they just need to take down one steel box of several and build a new wall in the hole.
Don't forget Finast warehouse, in between assembly plant and indoor mall.
 

BeeLine

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Up close it looks like the Kmart building is a stand alone structure which could be demo'd with little or no impact on the next store.
IMG_9272 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr

Note the ladder to the roof between the buildings which indicates that there maybe space between the two structures. To me the ariels also seem to indicate two seperate structures.
IMG_9273 by Bos Beeline, on Flickr
 

Lrfox

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Up close it looks like the Kmart building is a stand alone structure which could be demo'd with little or no impact on the next store.
You can see in the old aerials linked above that this appears to be a singular structure that's been in place for a while. There really doesn't appear to be any space between the two buildings either. The ladder just provides access to the sections of the roof that are higher than others.
 

Ruairi

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You can see in the old aerials linked above that this appears to be a singular structure that's been in place for a while. There really doesn't appear to be any space between the two buildings either. The ladder just provides access to the sections of the roof that are higher than others.
Say it is part of the original structure, how difficult would it be to take out the K Mart, expose the skeleton of the building and maybe put in a pedestrian section of Canal st. You could put smaller units each side of the new street and leave it covered or partially covered.
This way you have a nice feature breaking up a boring block, you expose more of Assembly's history, you have a pedestrian link to the new hotel at assembly edge or what ever it's called, and you have a covered public space where you could hold farmers markets or whatever year round.
If it became popular it might speed up the development of the parking lots and create a proper finished canal street.
 

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