The Forbes Lithograph owners have come back to the City with a plan for 700,000 sq. ft. of development and 630 residential units for the 18-plus acre site on Mill Hill – but they still only have one entrance.
The project has yet to be formally filed, but the City has requested that the owners conduct a serious neighborhood information campaign first, which the company has been doing.
The project has been scaled back significantly from its 1.5 million square foot proposal two years ago that included skyscrapers, hotels, restaurants and about 1,000 units of housing.
The current plan would have 630 units, including several units in a 16-story building. The remainder of the units would be in a couple of other smaller buildings. The would be a small amount of commercial space, with retail and office workspace uses.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it has been scaled back, but the City will not take a stand on it until the company files with the Zoning Board in July.
“It’s significantly less dense than the plan three years ago,” he said. “They can build the units by right as they meeting the density requirement. They will definitely need some zoning relief and the City has encouraged them to together with stakeholders and their parking access plan.”
There is still some question about the access, which comes from one bridge that would be rebuilt. Another access point over the Creek will not be part of the development.
“They explained it was just cost prohibitive with the decrease in units,” he said.
Already GreenRoots has met with them twice and that organization believes that the project is still too much.
“At both meetings, GreenRoots’ staff and members, as well as adjacent residents, voiced concern over the size and density of the project; the impacts on adjacent neighborhoods including on elementary school pedestrians and traffic and public transportation; and how the public access improvements to the Chelsea Creek waterfront would not be welcoming to the community at-large,” said Director Roseann Bongiovanni. “In short, this project must be scaled back significantly. A development in the likeness of Assembly Row cannot be built in a small neighborhood that does not have property access roads into and out of the site.”
Councillor Joe Perlatonda also has numerous concerns about the proposal. He said he has met with the developer, along with Councillor Leo Robinson, recently.
“First of all, there needs to be a two-way access to get in and out of this property which the only way the city would allow this is through a bridge connecting from the site to Rt. 1A, which will cost millions of dollars,” he said. “And what about the cleanup? Do we know if the land is contaminated? Is there a solution for pest control to combat the rodents? How long will this project take?… This will take years to develop even if this gets off the ground.
My fellow councillor and I would like to see a development that would consist of duplexes and single-family homes to keep up with the neighborhood.”