Winchester Small Developments

Smuttynose

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
575
Reaction score
2,834
Document


Waterfield Lot - Downtown Winchester, Mass - Four-story building planned on a one-acre lot adjacent to the Winchester commuter rail station with 60 residential units of which 40 will be affordable units
https://www.winchester.us/919/Waterfield-Lot-Development

The Town of Winchester deserves a great deal of credit for this. This is a one-acre town-owned lot currently utilized as a parking lot. In 2018, Town Meeting approved the Town selling the lot conditional on the land being utilized for affordable housing. After an RFP process, the Town negotiated a land development agreement with a private development company to construct a 60-unit multi-family building that was approved at the 2021 Town Meeting. Unfortunately, opponents gathered signatures to force a referendum and the referendum voted very narrowly against the development agreement (51% to 49%).

This could have been the end of the road, and likely would have been in a lot of communities, but the Town negotiated changes to the agreement immediately after the vote to try and address some of the criticisms. Some of these changes, IMHO, were positive and some not so positive. The Town did negotiate to get additional affordable units (40 affordable units instead of 32 units before). A not so great change included additional parking on the site, particularly of spaces for public use, and the loss of a retail component in the development. But the total number of units did not change.

The 2022 Town Meeting approved the revised development agreement and this time no referendum in opposition was organized.

This is a prime spot for transit-oriented development and this project is pretty significant by Winchester standards. It's especially heartening to see an affluent community be so proactive and determined to partner with a developer to provide affordable housing at a location that is perfect for it.
 
I grew up in Winchester and am pleasantly surprised to see this! The town definitely deserves some credit for this as you say, @Smuttynose.
 
Wow whoop-dee-do! An affluent community agonizes for years to build one affordable housing development. Hopefully they’ll get around to another one in the next decade or two. Imagine living in Revere, Everett, Chelsea … you know, places that actually have and continue to build large-scale, multi family housing … and reading about this “triumph.” Give me a break.
 
I mean, on the spectrum of stupid things that rich communities have done to avoid their obligations on housing this is pretty clearly a standout. Now, I think the Commonwealth should go much further in passing laws to promote increased housing throughout Eastern Mass, but 60 units of housing next to a commuter rail stop is important, especially when they could have left a surface parking lot.
 
Wow whoop-dee-do! An affluent community agonizes for years to build one affordable housing development. Hopefully they’ll get around to another one in the next decade or two. Imagine living in Revere, Everett, Chelsea … you know, places that actually have and continue to build large-scale, multi family housing … and reading about this “triumph.” Give me a break.

I mean it's all relative. Winchester could and should do more obviously, but they are much better than average.

For example, there are the Brooklines of the world, which sign on to bold regional pledges to create more housing, but then tries to kill a new affordable housing proposal as soon as it's proposed.

Then there are the Middleboroughs of the world, which hire public relations firms to explain why they have no intention of following the MBTA Communities law: Middleborough officials clarify the Town's position on MBTA Community Zoning requirements
*Sidenote: Filing the action plan is not very much work, it probably would have taken less time than filing this stupid statement

And then there are the Woburns, which devote huge amounts of time and energy to saying how terrible the MBTA law is, instead of, you know, actually trying to comply with it: Council still largely opposed to 'MBTA Communities' initiative

Winchester has committed to complying with the MBTA Communities law and is actively partnering with developers to build affordable housing (not just in this example, but in others). So yes, it's much better than average.
 
In addition to the Waterfield Lot project (60 units) noted by the OP:

ADU by Right: Town Meeting passes article to allow for creation of ADUs | Winchester | homenewshere.com

Washington/Swanton Street (60 units): LDA for Washington, Swanton Street parcel approved by Town Meeting | Winchester | homenewshere.com

Cross Street (9 units) - 87-89 Cross St. project can go forward | Winchester | homenewshere.com

River Street (147 Units) - 19-35 River Street Construction Projects - Winchester, MA | BLDUP

Cambridge Street (96 Units) - Winchester North Construction Projects - Winchester, MA | BLDUP

The River Street and Cambridge Street projects are nearing completion and are part of Winchester’s Affordable Housing Lottery: Sanctuary at Winchester - Affordable Rentals on River and Cambridge Streets | Winchester, MA - Official Website

For anyone interested, there will be an informational meeting on May 11th discussing Winchester's current affordable housing efforts - WHPB:MAHT Spring 2023 Town Meeting (winchester.us)
 
"The contiguous, five-story building stretching all along Converse Place and Mt Vernon Street would allow no views or passage to get to the other side to enjoy the river and the views of Mill Pond and Sandy’s Island. These would be forever blocked from view by all passersby on Converse Place and Mt. Vernon Street."

I'm sure these are the same people that voted down the previous Civco proposal next to the Commuter rail station. This is the view they're talking about: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.452...WW24a3uVgn2hA1Fw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

I'll be a shame to miss part of that view. I know that when I'm downtown, I always make sure to gaze at the partially obstructed view of the town hall and imagine that I can somehow see the island. That said, I will miss walking down the path along the river to the island...oh wait, it'll still be there.
 
"The contiguous, five-story building stretching all along Converse Place and Mt Vernon Street would allow no views or passage to get to the other side to enjoy the river and the views of Mill Pond and Sandy’s Island. These would be forever blocked from view by all passersby on Converse Place and Mt. Vernon Street."

This is absolutely not true.
 
Hi all! On February 6, 2024, the Winchester Planning Board approved the Waterfield Development. This will add 56 new units to Winchester's downtown, 40 of those units being deed restricted affordable. We are pleased to present the approved (with conditions) design for the project. The project developers, Civico Development, and their architects, Union Studio, were both great to work with and were extremely amenable to our Planning Board and community requests. Groundbreaking is tentatively planned for Spring '25 pending financing availability. I am happy to answer any questions about this project, or any other project, in Winchester.

Taylor Herman
Winchester Town Planner
Waterfield_Renders_Street Level Perspective_013124.jpg
Waterfield_Renders_Podium Perspecitve_013124.jpg
Waterfield_Renders_MBTA Platform Perspective_013124.jpg
 
I really dig that.

It's a much better option than the parking lots that are there now. My hope is that more people downtown means more support for local businesses. We've lost two of my favorites (Fuller Cup and Olive Branch) this year. They were literally the only places I went with any regularity.
 
Hi all! On February 6, 2024, the Winchester Planning Board approved the Waterfield Development. This will add 56 new units to Winchester's downtown, 40 of those units being deed restricted affordable. We are pleased to present the approved (with conditions) design for the project. The project developers, Civico Development, and their architects, Union Studio, were both great to work with and were extremely amenable to our Planning Board and community requests. Groundbreaking is tentatively planned for Spring '25 pending financing availability. I am happy to answer any questions about this project, or any other project, in Winchester.

Taylor Herman
Winchester Town Planner
View attachment 47986View attachment 47987View attachment 47988
Hi Taylor,

As a former Winchester resident (ages 1 - 18; moved to NYC in 2009), thank you so much for joining AB and providing this update! It looks great from the materials you shared, and 100% the right direction for the Town! Beyond this one, are there other development projects in the pipeline for the Center? Many thanks for advocating for TOD, walkability, and their associated quality of life and economic benefits in your official capacity!

All my best,
Alex
 
Hi all! On February 6, 2024, the Winchester Planning Board approved the Waterfield Development. This will add 56 new units to Winchester's downtown, 40 of those units being deed restricted affordable. We are pleased to present the approved (with conditions) design for the project. The project developers, Civico Development, and their architects, Union Studio, were both great to work with and were extremely amenable to our Planning Board and community requests. Groundbreaking is tentatively planned for Spring '25 pending financing availability. I am happy to answer any questions about this project, or any other project, in Winchester.

Taylor Herman
Winchester Town Planner
View attachment 47986View attachment 47987View attachment 47988

Please build more things like this! And for someone on the planning board please advocate for more buildings that fit with the new england character. This looks great. We have a choice going forward what we want our towns and cities to look like as they get denser downtown and I think that adding buildings like this that enhance the built experience and also enhance the sense of community and place are vital towards getting the public on board. If a lot of super ugly party panel abominations get built theres going to be a lot more pushback vs something like this that actually makes downtown a nicer place than it was before this is built. People can feel good about this being built, that goes a long way imo.
 
Hi Taylor,

As a former Winchester resident (ages 1 - 18; moved to NYC in 2009), thank you so much for joining AB and providing this update! It looks great from the materials you shared, and 100% the right direction for the Town! Beyond this one, are there other development projects in the pipeline for the Center? Many thanks for advocating for TOD, walkability, and their associated quality of life and economic benefits in your official capacity!

All my best,
Alex
Alex, over the last two+ years the Planning Board has approved two other projects within the town's Central Business District. These are 654 Main Street (currently the site of Fells Hardware) and 10 Converse Place. 654 Main has been fully permitted and includes 36 total units, 6 of which are affordable. 10 Converse has been approved by the Planning Board but have been appealed by the Conservation Commission and includes 43 units, 6 of which are affordable. I'll post further details of these separately.
 
Converse place also looks like an extremely high quality development.
 
^Agreed, and I believe there is a plan to raze and redevelop when the T station is complete.
 
Converse place also looks like an extremely high quality development.

It's a massive improvement over what's currently there. My only real "complaint" is that I would have loved to have seen more ground-floor retail along the riverfront on two sides of the building.
 

Back
Top