Riverside Station development

12345

Active Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
447
Reaction score
1
T to lease Riverside Station space for development
By Adam Sell
Globe Correspondent / February 13, 2009

MBTA officials yesterday announced the details of a longawaited major development project at Riverside Station in Newton that will net the T more than $200 million over the next 85 years.

The MBTA unveiled an 85-year lease of a portion of the station complex to BH Normandy Riverside LLC. The developer plans to use the space for 420,000 square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of retail space, and 190 residential units. The development will take place at Riverside Station, on the Green Line's "D" branch.

"Served by trains and buses, Riverside Station is an ideal location for a transit-oriented development project such as this one," Daniel A. Grabauskas, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said in a news release. "This is an excellent example of smart growth."

Grabauskas also pledged not to decrease the amount of parking for commuters at the station.

In return for the property, the MBTA will receive $850,000 on the lease each year for the first five years, and that figure will increase by 12.5 percent every five years. James Aloisi Jr., chairman of the MBTA board, said the revenue over the course of the lease will exceed $217 million.

MBTA officials said yesterday that they would like to consider the lease and development of more of their properties as a way to help lift the agency out of debt.

But Aloisi was not so sure when asked about the idea, noting that the climate for development is difficult in the current credit crunch. "We've got to confront reality," he said.

According to the MBTA, the T's operations at Riverside, "which include the Green Line station and maintenance facility, an intercity bus depot, and a 960-space commuter parking lot, will be protected and preserved during the construction and development process."

The news release described the development as a "smart growth" project, and it said Mayor David Cohen of Newton supports the plan. The release said "the project will generate significant new tax revenue and jobs."

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/13/t_to_lease_riverside_station_space_for_development/
 

ablarc

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
0
Much too small. Multiply the office square footage, the retail, and the residential units by five, then multiply the lease amount by ten.

Too big a dose of "realism":

'MBTA officials said yesterday that they would like to consider the lease and development of more of their properties as a way to help lift the agency out of debt.

But Aloisi was not so sure when asked about the idea, noting that the climate for development is difficult in the current credit crunch. "We've got to confront reality," he said.'


Not so much confrontation as capitulation?
 

PaulC

Senior Member
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
1,617
Reaction score
0
I'm surprised at how large this development is. This is close to a reseidential area and it is Newton. Has the T ever looked at developing air right over the storage area and the maintenance facility? That could double the size of project and the revenue to the T. Is there any value to extending the line from here?
 

ablarc

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
0
^ Maybe, but in the meantime you can bend it to your will for decades. The 20th Century has some prominent and unfortunate examples. I'm sure you can identify them; they set the course for the whole century.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,814
Reaction score
43
I'm amazed. I seriously thought they'd never actually do this...

I wouldn't expect anything to happen too soon, though. Lower Falls is in NIMBY hell right now over a proposed multi-use path leading to this development from the Arborpoint project in Wellesley. It seems patently unlikely to me that anyone at all will support this scheme from the neighborhood. Then again, Newton's development procedures aren't all that stringent, merely annoying.

It also seems unlikely to me that the total of the commuter parking lot will be protected during development. I imagine a parking garage is in the works, but that would require closing the portion of the parking lot its being built over. There isn't much non-parking related open space on that site.

This project will also likely require massive infrastructure sweeteners. Locals would like it to have its own 128 access (eye roll).
 

czsz

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2007
Messages
6,045
Reaction score
1
I wonder how long the NIMBY form of hyperlocal control over development will trump the tantalizing prospect of so much new tax revenue, etc. for cities as a whole, given the economic climate.
 

found5dollar

Active Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
967
Reaction score
0
I was wondering what ever happened to this proposal and apparently real plans were sent out in June. we are 6 months behind the times!

This is the statistics of the development from http://www.riversidestation.info/riverside/Project+Summary a community group....

-----------------------------------------------------
Sources:
* The Environmental Notification Form (ENF), filed on April 30, 2010 with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (MEPA)
* The Traffic Impact and Access Study by the developer, April, 2010
* Materials provided by the developer at the June 17, 2010 community meeting

Developer:
BH Normandy Riverside LLC, John Hancock Tower 200 Clarendon St, Boston, MA 02116

Development Site:
25.3 acres at the Riverside T Station on Grove St., Newton. (Includes a 22.6-acre MBTA parcel under an 85-year lease and 2.7-acre BH Normandy parcel, currently part of the 190 room Indigo Hotel property.)

Project Summary:
1,685,000** square feet of mixed-use development, with the tallest building (currently proposed) at 11 stories, towering approximately 120? above Grove St.

The current proposal includes:
* 240 Housing units (260,000 square feet)-
23 one-bed studios;
103 one-bedroom units;
109 two-bedroom units;
5 three-bedroom units

* 595,000 square feet of office space
* 14,800 square feet of retail space
* 2,720 parking spaces (816,000 square feet)-
including 1,040 space parking structure for mass transit parking,
replacing 960 existing surface spaces

** The developer uses a figure of 869,000 square feet for the project size, but this number does not include any of the parking structures. Industry estimates call for 300-400 square feet per parking space, with the per space requirement dropping as the size of the structure increases. We have used the lowest estimate here- 300 sq. ft. per space to arrive at 816,000 sq. ft. for parking.

Development Phases with Estimated Timeframes:
Phase I- construction of 1,040 space parking garage April 2011 ? June 2012
Phase Ia- offsite roadway improvements, March 2012 ? September, 2012
Phase II- construction of residential buildings, June 2012 ? October 2013
Phase III- construction of office buildings, June 2013 ? October 2014

Traffic Impact and Proposed Mitigation
This project is expected to generate an additional 8,230 vehicle trips per day on top of the current volume of 3,650 vehicle trips per day for a total of 11,880 vehicle trips per day.

Proposed traffic mitigation measures include-
* widening Grove St, a Newton Scenic Roadway, in the area of the project, from two lanes to four lanes;
* adding two roundabouts (small rotaries designed to slow traffic), one in Lower Falls near the existing ramps for Rt. 128 southbound, and one near the existing ramps for Rt. 128 northbound;
* locating the main access to/from the site to the service road along the northbound Rt. 128 on-ramp. That road would be still be reached from Grove St. via the proposed roundabout to be located near the existing northbound 128 ramps.

---------------------------------------

A good presentation from a meeting with the same community group with great graphics for a community meeting can be found here:

http://www.riversidestation.info/riverside/dl34

I highly suggest you look at it, but for the lazy ones, here are a few pics of the proposed site.


 

BostonUrbEx

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
4,257
Reaction score
0
There's a flaw in P3, IMO. There could be more storage/layover tracks under that area there. As it is, they have to build a whole new facility just to hold a very small order of Type 9's.
 

palindrome

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
2,203
Reaction score
0
There's a flaw in P3, IMO. There could be more storage/layover tracks under that area there. As it is, they have to build a whole new facility just to hold a very small order of Type 9's.
good point ^. There must be some reason why they wouldn't just do that. :confused::confused:
 

found5dollar

Active Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
967
Reaction score
0
from my understanding they are doing kinda what it is like at Alewife, a parking garage with bus stations, taxi stands, drop off area, and bike storage under it because, from the look of the site plan, there really isn't any other place for those.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,814
Reaction score
43
I actually attended one of these meetings, but I haven't checked how much of the presentation they have up on the site. The garage will indeed contain a bus station and bike facilities. In fact I recall that there won't be any parking spaces on the first floor of the garage to reserve it for precisely those purposes.

The above site plan isn't their only option, either. The air rights garage (P2) over the storage tracks is one of a couple placement alternatives.

Residents aren't thrilled about the roundabouts. Folks who live on Grove near the south roundabout (the rightmost one on the plan) claim that even at the managed speeds of the roundabout the added traffic will turn Grove St. to a highway.

Frankly, the fact that we've heard nothing from Normandy since the summer tells me that this isn't really moving forward. The Waterstone project in Wellesley (it was Arborpoint until a few months ago) and the beginnings of the mixed use path are full steam ahead and under construction, however. Given how long that all took under similar opposition, it'll be 10 years before this breaks ground, if it ever does.
 

Ron Newman

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
8,395
Reaction score
0
if Grove Street is a "Newton Scenic Roadway" isn't that a good reason *not* to widen it?

Build the development first, watch the results for a few years, and only then make any decision on widening roads.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,814
Reaction score
43
Revised plan, same NIMBYs (I say that and I'm from the neighborhood). Why can't people make constructive comments?

http://www.wickedlocal.com/newton/news/x1388106722/Newton-residents-speak-out-against-proposed-Riverside-development#axzz1Ov8Pztoo

I think this project is actually relatively realistic given what that site can be. This space sits at a hub of transportation routes and is possibly the most accessible large plot of buildable land in Metro Boston. It won't be utilized as destination open space by anyone who doesn't live in an apartment there, since Lower Falls and Auburndale both have ample centralized parks nearby and the site is locked in by busy streets. Offices and Apartments will sell there. The city and MBTA both need this money, and the site is far underutilized and an eyesore.

Also, WTH does "land abuse" mean? Any density beyond that of this guy's house (which is over a mile away with no easy route to the site, BTW)?
 

datadyne007

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
8,763
Reaction score
46
The architect they interview does make a great point, though - the proposal(s) seriously lack public space.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,814
Reaction score
43
The architect they interview does make a great point, though - the proposal(s) seriously lack public space.
The previous proposal had more public space than this, but it was fairly useless. It still basically is. Public space is only a reasonable investment if the public will actually go there. In this case, the only reason neighbors will venture to the site is to get on the train/bus or to patronize the 1 or 2 stores in that single retail building. Those on the site for home or work have designated open space available to them.

The sad part is that there's a perfectly good public park right across the river to the north, but a variety of state agencies have collaborated to drive it into the sewer. This development can't do anything about it (they don't have rights to that land), but with some well-aimed trail and bridge improvements, some of which are already underway, DCR might be able to ride this wave, so to speak.
 

BostonUrbEx

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
4,257
Reaction score
0
Why is the shortest parking garage the one closest to the station? That's not very good, IMO. Take an axe to P1 or P2. I think P2 will only get in the way of any possible MBTA yard changes.

In fact, this entire area needs to be handled sensitively. It will need major expansion for a Green Line heavy rail upgrade as well as any potential Blue Line or frequent DMU down the Pike to Riverside (which I assume would have a yard here alongside the Green Line).

It would be very frustrating if this project stands as a hurdle to either or both somewhere down the line. Seriously, P2 is just a waste, get that thing out of there.

I would like this project if the area was already fully utilized by the MBTA, but it's not even close, really. Also, it could be a little less autocentric if it was kept a little tighter with some sort of commercial use. The NIMBY's have got it all wrong, they always complain about the wrong points (crowded, dense, etc), always.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,814
Reaction score
43
For those interested, slides from last week's neighborhood meeting are available here:

www.riversidestation.info/riverside/dl38

The traffic simulation videos they refer to can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/riversidenewtonma

The massing and renderings look somewhat promising. It's not made obvious from the pictures, but the entrances of the units along Grove St. (the ones that look like townhouses) will actually be on the 3rd floor of the complex. Where there currently is a steep dropoff to an empty parking lot on the north side of grove, the developer is proposing rowhouses. It's a good thing.

I'm not sure why the T feels the need to announce themselves with massive logos on all their buildings, though.
 

datadyne007

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
8,763
Reaction score
46
This was a HUGE improvement. Those hand-drawn renderings looks great.

I'm not thrilled about the reduction in height, but I really like the way things are starting to look. The treatment of the apartment building that conceals the garage is great.
 

Top