Assembly Square settlement boosts Mystic Crossing
- See Paragraph 7 below.
- Ken Krause
- - -
Dear STEP Participants and Friends,
There will be a signing at 9:30 AM and a press conference at 10:00
AM this morning (Tuesday, October 17th) at Somerville City Hall
announcing the settlement of long-standing Assembly Square
disputes . All are welcome to attend this event which will detail
the terms of the settlement between Federal Realty, IKEA and the
Mystic View Task Force. Federal and IKEA own or control roughly 66
acres out of the 90 acres that are developable at Assembly Square.
The settlement term sheet, which will be made public today, details
the land uses, transportation parameters and open space expectations
for these two developers' properties within the context of total
development of more than 10 million square feet of buildings
expected in all of Assembly Square.
The new Long Term Vision calls for no more than 1.4 million square
feet of retail and no more than 3.0 million square feet of housing,
as well as a minimum of 5.0 million square feet of office and/or
research and development space. There is also 1.0 million square
feet of "flex" space which may be hotel, civic, office and/or
residential space. The residential portion of the "flex" space may
not exceed 400 thousand square feet and may only be built pro rata
to office and R&D space. Up to 1.185 million square feet of retail
may be built on Federal and IKEA propertyy, including the existing
re-tenanted mall and the new IKEA store. All of the residential
space at Assembly Square will be on Federal development sites.
Retail and residential space allocations may be converted to office
and R&D at any time, but office and R&D land uses may not be
converted to retail or residential.
Federal and IKEA will contribute $15 million toward the design,
engineering and construction of a new MBTA Orannge T-stop at
Assembly Square. In addition to the $25 million earmark secured by
Congressman Capuano, this unprecedented contribution will enable
accelerated provision of high speed transit to Assembly Square.
IKEA will be located very close to the new T-stop and will assist
with affordable home delivery to customers who come on the T. IKEA
will also provide packaging designed to assist customers who might
want to take their purchased goods home via public transit.
Somerville's store will be the first truly transit-oriented IKEA in
The target for total vehicle trips to and from all of Assembly
Square's 145 acres, including trips which exist already, will be
50,000 per day, with a hard cap of 55,000 trips per day. Federal's
earlier projections of Assembly Square traffic involved roughly
100,000 trips per day. An Assembly Transportation Management
Association, with MVTF representatives, will be empowered to and
responsible for making sure the vehicle trip target and hard cap are
met. The agreement allows IKEA and the Assembly Square mall to
provide free customer parking but will require market rate charges
for all day parkers in mixed use developments. Addtionally,
however, MVTF will be able to advocate for stricter transportation
and parking tactics during the public entitlement processes.
Federal and IKEA will fund a Health Impact Study focused on the
Interstate 93/ Route 28 and Route 38 corridors. This study will
investigate base level and incremental additions to transportation
emissions affecting neighborhoods in Somerville along the I93/38 and
28 corridors, including the Assembly Square district. For the
benefit of future residents and users of the dsitrict, the study
will suggest tactics that might (practically) help developers
minimize or mitigate transportation pollution. For the benefit of
nearby Somerville citizens, the study will provide information and
suggest tactics that might (practically) help the neighborhoods deal
with, minimize and mitigate transportation pollution in the future.
The Open Space plan for Assembly Square includes additions to Mystic
River park land, new public open space dotted throughout Assembly
Square and extensive use of green roofs and/or rooftop "amentity"
decks. Federal will plan and build (or improve) three important
bike and Pedestrian Links to other Somerville neighborhoods - under
Route 28 to Ten Hills, under the MBTA rail lines to Draw 7 Park, to
Sullivan Square via Lombardi Street - and will also provide a Bike
Path through the length of Assembly Square to facilitate
alterrnative access. Federal will also plan and advocate for the
following additional four Pedestrian Connections: from Foley Street
to Foss Park, to the States Avenues section of East Somerville,
across the Amelia Earhart dam, and along the waterfront from
Assembly Square to Ryan Park in Charlestown. MVTF will be able to
advocate for additional open space and pedestrian improvements
during the public entitlement process.
In the immediate future, Federal and IKEA will plan, entitle and
develop their properties according to a PUD Development Plan which
will allow all of their retail and most of the residential
development, along with at least 1.75 million square feet of office
and R&D space to be expedited. This accord settles all outstanding
Assembly Square legal disputes and the parties have agreed not to
litigate over entiltements in the future. Execution of binding
settlement documentation is expected on or before November 15th.
Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership
Pact could end row over project near Assembly Square
Promise of funds for MBTA station is the key to deal
By Chris Reidy, Globe Staff | October 17, 2006
A tentative agreement disclosed yesterday between developers and a
community group could end nearly a decade of dispute and allow
construction of an Ikea furniture store and an ambitious mixed-use
project consisting of office space, a hotel, and more than 2,100
rental apartments and residential condominiums near Somerville's
"It's just exciting and incredible to see we're moving forward,"
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said. ``The sky's the limit."
A key to the accord was a promise by Ikea and Federal Realty
Investment Trust , the mixed-use project's developer, to invest $15
million to help build an MBTA station nearby -- an Orange Line stop
between the Sullivan Square and Wellington stations that would help
address opponents' traffic concerns.
Over the years, members of a group of Somerville residents called
the Mystic View Task Force sued the city and Ikea to block zoning
changes and development proposals. Several suits are outstanding.
But because of the agreement, task force member Wig Zamore said,
``All the lawsuits are going away."
Mystic View objected to big-box stores such as Ikea on the grounds
they would aggravate traffic without adding high-paying jobs and
additional tax revenue to the city. Mystic View argued that
proposals for transit-oriented development that included office
buildings, residences, and open space were preferable.
In 2005, Federal Realty disclosed plans to purchase nearly a third
of the roughly 145-acre Assembly Square site. Earlier this year,
Mystic View began negotiating with Ikea and Federal Realty, whose
vision for a mixed-use urban village has similarities to what Mystic
View had been advocating.
``We deeply appreciate Federal's hard work with us to see that
potential," Mystic View spokesman Bill Shelton said yesterday, who
noted that Federal Realty's proposal now envisions far more office
space than originally planned.
``We began this process with serious conflicts, but we kept working
together until we found creative solutions," said Don Briggs ,
senior vice president at Federal Realty.
One important component for an urban village would be the proposed T
stop. The federal government has earmarked $25 million toward a T
station expected to cost $40 million, said US Representative Michael
Capuano , a Somerville Democrat. Federal Realty's and Ikea's plan to
contribute $15 million should expedite that.
Still, Capuano said, that station is ``several years away" from
being a reality.
Once the agreement with Mystic View is finalized, Briggs said
Federal Realty could break ground in 2009; depending on market
conditions, the project would likely be built in phases over eight
to 10 years.
The agreement follows a previously disclosed plan for a land swap
between Federal Realty and Ikea. A call to Ikea was not returned.
Briggs said Ikea could likely break ground in 2008.
An urban village next to a T stop would qualify as ``smart growth,"
the notion of developing high-density mixed-use projects near public
Assembly Square ``could be the most impressive smart growth project
in New England," said Douglas Foy , a former Massachusetts secretary
of commonwealth development who helped mediate the agreement.
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