The owners of the Arsenal Project have proposed creating new zoning for the property to allow more types of developments to be allowed, with the goal of making the project a gateway to Watertown.
Last week, the Town Council referred the proposal for creating a Regional Mixed Use District to the Planning Board.
“An amendment has been proposed, but it is not sign, sealed delivered,” said Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon. “They proposal would allow broader uses of the property.”
William McQuillan, principal of Boylston Properties – the owners of the Arsenal Project (formerly Arsenal Mall) – submitted the proposal under the name BP Watertown Retail LLC.
Currently, the mall sits in the Industrial 1 (I-1) Zone, which is intended for industrial and manufacturing businesses.
According to the proposal, the new district would: encourage mixed use development of the area, incentivize real estate investment to maximize the town’s tax base, allow a density of development to create a “gateway to the town.” It would also encourage green development, link multiple modes of transportation including linking bike and pedestrian paths, and make the area more pedestrian friendly.
Among the new uses the new zoning would allow would be retail, office, hospitality, research & development and multi-family housing. Also, auto sales and leasing would be permitted.
Other changes include allowing longer building lengths than allowed by regular zoning, reduce the required front and rear setbacks, a maximum height for commercial buildings of 79 feet.
If a proposed project is 5 acres or more, the RMUD allows for a master plan to be submitted to the town.
The RMUD did not come out of the blue. A change in zoning for the eastern part of Arsenal Street was suggested as part of the Watertown’s Comprehensive Plan. The difference, Magoon said, is the proposal would include the area where the Arsenal Project now sits (including Home Depot and the building where Miller’s Ale House is located) while the Comprehensive Plan included a wider area. The broader area has a whole section across Arsenal Street, including the Watertown Mall property.
The exact boundaries of the RMUD will have to be worked out by the Planning Board and Town Council.
See the entire proposal by clicking here.