City Manager Tom Ambrosino informed the City Council on Monday night that the developers that permitted a large residential project for the vacant Forbes Lithograph campus have indicated they will not move forward on the project.
“Unfortunately at this point it looks like the developer does not have any intention on moving forward,” he wrote. “The City has heard from several different parties that the project is being marketed.”
He said the City has told the developer and anyone inquiring about the project being for sale that there will be no deviation from what has been approved. Any new wrinkles or changes in the project will require a new special permit process.
The current permit was approved in September 2019, and due to COVID-19, will not expire until June 8, 2022.
The Zoning Board in 2019 approved the final iteration of the project that included 590 units of housing, with 60 percent of those units being condos for sale and 59 units being affordable to a range of incomes. There are also 1.6 parking spaces per unit, or 963 spaces. The project also boasts a major public access area to the waterfront of the Chelsea Creek and Mill Creek. The current project also has a very small amount of retail and office uses, with both totaling below 20,000 sq. ft.
The project, though still very large, was scaled back from the developer’s (YIHE Forbes of China) original proposal in 2015. That proposal featured skyscrapers about 21 stories tall and more than 1,000 units of housing accompanied by large office spaces and large hotels. It was rejected informally and the company eventually withdrew during a raucous ZBA meeting that went past midnight.