Somerville Infill and Small Developments

George_Apley

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I couldn't find a thread for just "Somerville developments", nor a specific one for the Powderhouse School redevelopment. Please move if this is not good for a new thread.

Developers have submitted proposals for the Powderhouse Community School lot.

http://somerville.patch.com/articles/powder-house-school-proposals-include-artist-live-work-space-townhouses-and-university-office-space

Somerville Patch said:
Diamond Sinacori Real Estate Development
Proposal: "A two- and three-story multifamily building above a 58-car parking garage" with 35 units. These units would look like townhouses.
Public space: 40 percent of the lot would be a public park, and there would a separate, private park just for residents of the development. The public park would include a tree-lined walkway from Broadway to Holland Street.
Purchase price: $1,015,000, which works out to $29,000 per condo unit.
Timeline: Ten months of design and 12 months of construction, with a target opening date of Aug. 30, 2015.
Previous projects: Kendall Crescent, Brookline; The Waterworks at Chestnut Hill, Boston.

Gate Residential/KSS Realty Partners
Proposal: The developers are offering two proposals:
"The Hamlet" would be "an interwoven village, with the public open space meandering gently through the heart of a 30-unit townhouse community." These would be two- and three-story townhouses with parking "clustered in parking courts" out of view from the public park. "The Square" would feature a residential development with 40 units, including a cluster of 18 townhouses and a three-story multifamily building. It might include retail space along Broadway. Parking would be "tucked a half level below grade."
Public space: "The Hamlet" would include park space, a community agriculture area, a children's play area, a "cardio station," an amphitheater and lawn bowl, and a dog "wilderness" run. "The Square" would lead to more public green space. Green space would include a streetfront park, a lawn, a community agriculture space, a dog run and a children's play area.
Purchase price: From $2,750,000 to $3,500,000, depending on the the proposal.
Timeline: About a year to 14 months for the public process and permitting, followed by a two-year construction period.
Previous projects: Maxwell's Green, Somerville.

Mammoth Acquisition Company
Proposal: 35 residential units, 18,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 58 parking spaces. In regard to the retail space, the proposal says, "We have already had preliminary discussions with a national pharmacy chain and have received positive feedback regarding their interest in this location."
Public space: 40 percent of site would be outdoor public space.
Purchase price: $7,000,000.
Timeline: Nine months for community process and design, six months for zoning, 12 months for construction.
Previous projects: Colburn School, Westood.

Peter Lee of Young Development and Michael McKee, architect
Proposal: Would re-use the current building—making significant changes to its appearance—to build artist live-work space, market-rate apartments, and a civic space with an auditorium, classrooms, meeting rooms and an art gallery. It would include 110 apartments and 103 parking spaces under the building. It would also include a bakery with outdoor seating.
Public space: A civic outdoor space with gardens and a playground. Forty-six percent of the site would be public open space.
Purchase price: $4,200,000. (The developers, in their proposal, value the "in-kind payments" for the added civic spaces at $5,298,7000).
Timeline: After the design and permitting process, construction would last for about 1.5 years, with a proposed completion date of December, 2015.
Previous projects: Porter Hotel, Cambridge (construction to begin in 2013).

Tufts University
Proposal: Combine the Powder House School site with the adjacent Tufts Administration Building, which is already owned by the university. The proposal calls for office and administration space and 35 rental units. An introductory letter says, "We also wish to assure the City that we will pay real estate taxes on the development."
Public space: It would include a park that runs the length of conjoined properties, from Broadway to Holland. It would include a playground, a rain garden, possible community gardens, decorative lighting, a yoga area, and the possibility for basketball, volleyball or other sports spaces.
Purchase price: $2,650,000.
Timeline: Construction and demolition work would begin in spring of 2015, but the proposal doesn't say how long construction would take.
Previous projects: The Dame School, Medford; Tufts School of Dental Medicine, Boston.

Somerville Community Corporation
Proposal: 35-units of affordable housing, 20,000 square feet of commercial space and a preschool. Another option calls for 50 units of housing with no commercial space.
Public space: Green space with landscaped sitting areas, a central lawn and a tot lot.
Purchase price: $1,785,000 for the 35-unit option and $2,235,000 for the 50-unit option.
Timeline: Somerville Patch was not able to open a document that contained this information.
Previous projects: St. Polycarp Village, Somerville.
Please NOT Diamond Sinacori... that sounds awful. I'd prefer any of those with retail/commercial space.
 

MBTAddict

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I think the important part of this project is some type of connection between Broadway and Holland, and I'd love for that connection to include some commercial space. Would be interested to see renderings of what's proposed here.
 

Arlington

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I couldn't find a thread for just "Somerville developments", nor a specific one for the Powderhouse School redevelopment. Please move if this is not good for a new thread.
Thanks for creating it. There's a lot of good infill development that would/should happen (and will be even better if the GLX ever gets going).
 

datadyne007

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Mmm, nothing says New England's densest city like a 1.65:1 parking ratio.

I like the sound of Young Dev.'s proposal the best.
 

kjdonovan

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Hutchison

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"Five-Story Apartment Complex Planned at 90 Washington St."

Developers are planning a a five-floor building at the corner of Washington and New Washington streets that would house 159 rental apartments and ground-floor retail space, according to submissions to the Somerville Zoning Board of Appeals.

The proposal, at 90 Washington St., would be next to Cobble Hill Apartments, an elderly housing community in East Somerville. Developers split off a parcel of land from the Cobble Hill Apartments site for the new proposal. A Somerville Planning Board report says there are no plans to redevelop the senior housing complex.

The proposal, by Corcoran Jennison, would include 13,217 square feet of commercial space on the ground level. Plans say it would include 159 rental apartments on the upper floors, though the plans also say there would be 25 studios apartments, 59 one-bedroom apartments and 45 two-bedroom apartments—which adds up to 129.

A planning board report notes the future Washington Street Green Line station would be one block away from the proposed development. It is also next to the New Washington Street dog park.
http://somerville.patch.com/groups/real-estate/p/fivestory-apartment-complex-planned-at-90-washington-st

More details are contained in the permitting submission available at:

http://www.somervillema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Washington St 90 - Plans reduced.pdf
 

pixelsand8

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Somerville Warehouse Highrise to be Converted into Apartment Building
A seven-story building in Somerville on the Cambridge line used for frozen storage may soon converted into a 100-unit apartment complex.

Boston-based Berkley Investments is purchasing the Millbrook Cold Storage building at 9 and 39 Medford St. next to the Twin City Plaza with hopes of renovating the building and adding an eighth floor, said Adam Dash an attorney representing the developer.
Google Streetview link
 

whighlander

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Might work well -- those kind of old midrise warehouses were built to house heavy loads -- they typically have very strong floors with wide spans between massive columns

Ideal for open type infill within the exterior walls. Of course since it was cold storage -- there's probably going to have to be a serious amount of cutting through thick walls [2+ feet?] to have any windows, balconies, etc.

As an aside: on and episonde of HGTV "Most unusual homes" or something of that nature -- there was a home constructed out of a WWII antiaircraft bunker in some German City [perhaps Hamburg]

The original structure [4 floors] was build out of heavy reinforced concrete and had walls that were 4' thick

The architect / developer / owner had a custom concrete sawing firm cut through the walls create several 6' to 8' wide open bays that were finished in two ways:
1) fixed glass windows on the outside with wide window ledges inside
2) glass doors on the inside with 4' deep balconies
 

JohnAKeith

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Well if they think they can find people to live there, good for them.

I can't provide you with a link to the approximate location on Google Maps because the new Google Maps is impossible to navigate.

Berkeley Investments started construction on a $10.5 M, 34-unit apartment building at 625 McGrath Highway in Somerville. Paving the way for the project, it recently closed on its $2.25M purchase of the former Highland Auto Parts store site. Berkeley's three-level, townhouse-style project will have studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units in sizes from 650 SF to-1,100 SF and will be priced between $2.40 SF/and $2.90/SF per month.
 

Ron Newman

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This happened on a very limited scale in Davis Square during the 1980s, resulting in the current Harvard Vanguard building.
 

choo

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^The precedent is established in court to do that (Supreme Court Case on New Haven). But I don't think it will come to that. Why would a landlord take fair value now when the city is essentially given him increased value via upzoning to build multi-story mixed use.

This doesn't work if the city is looking to redo the street grid and someones building gets lost entirely.

I live less than a mile up somerville ave and am really excited not only for the T, but the pre-planning being done by the city on making these squares vibrant. More uses and housing is the only way to keep many longtime residents, otherwise Somerville prices will just go up more than they have.

For such a dense city, Assembly Sq. and other multi-family developments around the squares will see Somerville add potentially upwards of 5000 units in the coming years.
 

davem

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Instead of taking the properties, I would rather see the square upzoned and the properties taxed based on their potential value under the new zoning. Maybe a 5 year blackout to give owners a chance to either sell or come up with a plan to build. Its better then straight up taking the properties, as in New Haven.

However, the purpose of ED is for the agreed upon community benefit. So if the community at large sees greater density as a benefit and parking lots, one story single use buildings, industrial properties, etc as not fitting with that vision, ED is approperate.

(*on phone, can't spell*)
 

itchy

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The City of Somerville is looking to take properties adjacent to the new Union Square Green Line station by eminent domain not for the station itself but to give to a developer for redevelopment. Not a good precedent to set if you ask me...[/url]
Agree. It's about the worst precedent you can think of.
 

Matthew

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Curtatone's desire to have a single developer do all the properties is highly suspicious.

One of the biggest mistakes of 20th century housing policy was to make it nearly impossible for small developers to do anything, killing off diversity. Zoning was supported by large developers because they had the resources to cut the red tape, but their competition did not.
 

Shepard

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Nothing about the zoning code itself compels the city to consolidate different properties into one large parcel for development. They could simply re-zone and keep the parcels separate, and individual developers (including present-day owners) could put up smaller footprints piecemeal.

The problem is that cities all too often put the power of zoning and planning in the same hands, which makes zoning an agent of planning. If zoning is ideally meant to level the playing field by codifying a set of predictable and easily-digestible regulations, then conflating it with zoning does the exact opposite. Zoning-as-planning essentially tilts the pinball machine to favor anyone with connections and/or money.
 

whighlander

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Curtatone's desire to have a single developer do all the properties is highly suspicious.

One of the biggest mistakes of 20th century housing policy was to make it nearly impossible for small developers to do anything, killing off diversity. Zoning was supported by large developers because they had the resources to cut the red tape, but their competition did not.
Math -- you mean bribe the Politicians and Bureaucraptic apparatus -- where do you think someone like Mika Da Cappo got the $ to become a Congressman
 

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