Planning Board to Hear Arguments for Amendment for Taller Tower at Arsenal Yards in July

At its next meeting the Planning Board will hear arguments from the developers of Arsenal Yards about their requested amendment to increase the allowable height in the area to 197 feet. The proposed amendment to the Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD) section of the Zoning Ordinance would increase the maximum height by 67 feet over the currently allowed 130 feet. The maximum height is allowed if a parcel is 10 acres or more. The Planning Board will discuss the amendment on July 11, 2018 at the meeting that begins at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. The item is comes after two other cases.

Zoning Board Delays Vote on Apartment Building on Morse Street

The third time was not the charm, at least not yet, for developers seeking the approval of the Zoning Board to turn the former factory building into an apartment building. The developers of 101-103 Morse Street appeared before the Zoning Board in April and June 2017, and were back again last week. Each time the number of units in the development were cut, first from 48 to 40, then from 40 to 36. The project is located south of Watertown Street in a T Zone (two family). The building, however, started as a factory and then became a massage school, so it is a legal non-conforming use.

Opinions Split Over Taller Tower Request by Developers of Arsenal Yards

The developers of the Arsenal Mall renovation got a mix of opinions Monday night about their request to build a tower even higher than the 130-foot limit in Watertown’s Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD). Watertown residents packed a room at the Arsenal Mall, a short distance from where developers of Arsenal Yards would like to put up Building G, a 197-foot condominium tower. Boylston Properties, the developer of the property, has submitted an amendment for the Town to consider which would increase the maximum height of the RMUD — located around the eastern end of Arsenal Street — by 67 feet. The people speaking in opposition to the height increase outnumbered those who like the idea of a taller tower. Why Taller?

Reduced Number of Apartments in Morse St. Project Pleases Planning Board

Developers of the former massage school on Morse Street went back to the drawing board and came back with a new design for an apartment building that pleased that Planning Board. Wednesday night, the Planning Board voted to recommend to the Zoning Board (which will make the final decision on the project) that it approves the latest design. The project will need a special permit to switch from a commercial to a residential use. The first proposal sought to make 45 apartments in the complex at 101-103 Morse Street, just off Watertown Street. The Zoning Board told developers it was too dense, so the designers came back with a 40-unit apartment building in June 2017.

See a Mock-Up of a Taller Tower at the Arsenal Yards Site

On Monday, June 18, 2018, the developers of the Arsenal Yards project — the former Arsenal Mall — will hold a community meeting to discuss a proposed amendment to allow a building 67 feet higher (197 feet total) than allowed under current zoning. The Town has shared a slideshow that will be used at the meeting which shows a rendering of the taller tower. According to the slides, the taller tower would have the same number of units (122) as the 129-foot-tall tower, but would have a different look. Besides being taller, it would be thinner, and have more glass, according to the rendering. It would also have no studios, but would have a penthouse.

Planning Board Approves Fourth Phase of Arsenal Yards, Including the Plaza

The fourth phase of the renovation of the Arsenal Mall, which will create a plaza surrounded by restaurants and retail stores with apartments on top, got the approval of the Planning Board Wednesday night. 

The two main sections of Phase 4 of the Arsenal Yards project will be built around an area that will be shared by pedestrians and vehicles, and is designed to allow outdoor seating for restaurants that look out on the area. The whole area is designed to be blocked off to traffic and used for events such as a fair, a farmer’s market or other gatherings, the developers told the Planning Board. Building C will have 27,500 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, with 130 apartments on five floors of housing above.

Watertown’s I-Cubed Application Still Being Analyzed by State

The application for $25 million in infrastructure projects in Watertown, and on state lands in town, in return for more jobs and growth by Athenahealth, remains in the hands of State officials. 

The I-Cubed project, which is a partnership between Athenhealth, the Town of Watertown and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (which controls the areas around the Charles River), is being examined by the Department of Revenue (DOR), according to a memo sent to Town Manager Michael Driscoll. The memo sent in an email from attorney Stephen W. DeCourcey of Lynch, DeSimone & Nylen, who represents the Town in the I-Cubed project, reads:
“The Department of Revenue has not completed its financial analysis of the new tax revenues that are expected to be received as a result of Athena’s economic development project on the Arsenal site. This analysis is a prerequisite to the Commonwealth’s approval of the joint application. The DOR is expected to complete its analysis in the next few weeks.” The I-Cubed program is run by the Executive Office of Administration & Finance (A&F).

Arsenal Mall Project Receives Major Investment from JP Morgan

The owners of Arsenal Yards sent out the following information:
Boylston Properties and J.P. Morgan today announced a $109 million strategic investment from institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan in Boylston Properties’ Arsenal Yards development, a mixed-use destination of the former Arsenal Mall in East End Watertown. With sitework currently underway and upon the first phase opening in 2019, the vibrant urban neighborhood will be more than one million square feet, including 250,000 square feet of shops and eateries, anchored by Roche Bros. and The Majestic Cinema, YardWorks (200,000 sq. ft. of new and existing office and lab space), Blvd & Bond (425 contemporary residences), a 150-room Hampton by Hilton, The Fitness Collection, and a revitalized Arsenal Park with expanded access to the Charles River.