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Assembly Square settlement boosts Mystic Crossing

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  • kenmedford
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 17, 2006
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      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
      North America.

      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.

      Regards,

      Wig Zamore
      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
      Assembly Square.

      "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
      transportation.

      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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