Assembly Row, Somerville's newest neighborhood, promises to be the largest neighborhood development since the creation of the Back Bay in the 19th century and will offer more river frontage than Beacon Hill, more green space than South Boston, and will be larger than the North End. When completed, the development will include 1.75 million square feet of office space, 2,100 residential units, a new shopping plaza featuring an IKEA, a new main street with countless spaces for restaurants and small retail shops, a new 200 room hotel, a 60,000 square foot movie complex, a renewed waterfront along the Mystic River, and a new MBTA Orange Line station. The mixed-use, smart growth project is being undertaken by Federal Realty Investment Trust, based out of Maryland. The company is already established in the region, owning many large properties throughout the greater Boston area.
The site, located only 2 miles from downtown Boston, is easily accessible from I-93 and Route 28. It sits on 66.5 acres of land, right near the bank of the Mystic River. When completed, the development is expected to draw in $15 million in tax revenue for the city of Somerville, not to mention the more than 19,000 permanent jobs it will create.
Originally the site of a shopping mall built in 1980, it eventually lost a great amount of business and fell into disrepair until it eventually closed down. Planning began in 2005 when Federal Realty bought the initial property for the project.
The state has invested heavily into the construction of the neighborhood, giving it a large amount of government funding. In July of 2009, governor Deval Patrick announced a state and federal partnership with the Somerville Assembly Square Project, promising $65 million in state bond and federal stimulus money—$50 million coming from the Massachusetts Infrastructure Investment Incentive program (I-Cubed), and $15 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In addition, Assembly Square has already drawn in big-name companies to open shop. The already finished Assembly Marketplace contains an AC Moore, a Bed Bath & Beyond, a Christmas Tree Shoppe, a Kmart, a Sports Authority, a Staples, and a TJMaxx.
An integral part of the success of this project will be the new MBTA Orange Line station. The station will be located between the already existing Sullivan Square and Wellington stops and will be the first new station on the Orange Line since the opening of the Southwest Corridor in 1987. The structure will be designed to be green and eco-friendly, heavily relying on glass and metal.
Federal Realty recently announced that the MBTA has submitted a notice to bidders for the construction of the station. Once a bidder is chosen, construction is set to begin this Fall, and the station could potentially be open by 2014.
Be sure to check out the images the MBTA provides of the new station here and here.
For more information on Assembly Row, visit their website.