Yes, Somerville can. The development of Assembly Square is moving forward. Last night the Board of Aldermen voted 9-1 to approve a $25.75 million bond that will build roadways, sidewalks and a stormwater outfall system needed to support a new "urban campus" on the site. Anchored by a new Orange Line T-stop, the campus will include 2,100 new residences, 1.75 million square feet of commercial/office space, 850,000 square feet of retail space, and a hotel and cinema complex.
More than $50 million from the State and the developer, Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), are committed to build the new T station, which should be completed in 2013. MassDOT put the project out to bid yesterday.
“This is one of the most momentous votes ever taken by the Somerville Board of Aldermen,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “It will completely remake the northern gateway to our city, bring in thousands of new jobs and eventually contribute $17 million a year to the City in new tax revenues. More than that, it will recast Somerville as a business and technology hub, opening the door to redevelopment in places like the Inner Belt, Brickbottom and Boynton Yards. I want to thank the Aldermen and everybody over the years that attended meetings and spoke up about the redevelopment of Assembly Square. No matter what your opinion is or was, you ultimately helped forge this deal and Somerville will benefit for generations as a result of it.”
To pay off the bond, the City will use the future tax receipts from the first three blocks constructed inside Assembly Square, meaning that none of the City’s current tax base will be used for the debt service.