REMINDER: Hear About Proposed Project on Cannistraro Site in West Watertown

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Broder/CBT An illustration of the potential designs for a project at Pleasant Street and Rosedale Avenue, which would include a life science building, a garage and retail space.

The developers of the proposed project on the Cannistraro site on Rosedale Road will hold a community meeting on March 20. The project includes multiple life science lab buildings and a garage on the Westside property.

Click here to see the documents submitted to the Planning Department (scroll down to Click Here for Applications, Reports, Plans, and other project documents).

Dear Community Member:

Please join Broder ( for a presentation of its plans to redevelop the site at 275 & 313 Pleasant Street, 80 Rosedale Road, and 60 Acton Street. The site will be transformed into a vibrant life science/office campus with a complementary retail component. The campus has been designed to actively invite residents to enjoy thoughtfully landscaped publicly accessible green space, bicycle paths, and pedestrian connections, all proximate to the Charles River Greenway.

We will be hosting an interactive meeting at the Council Chambers at Watertown City Hall (149 Main Street) on Monday, March 20th at 6:30 p.m. We hope you are able to join us for the presentation and look forward to your comments.

For ease of access, the meeting will be conducted in a hybrid format to accommodate both in-person and virtual attendees. For those using Zoom, just prior to the start of the meeting, please access the link below to join via computer or mobile device. You may be instructed to download the Zoom application. The project team will also attempt to secure a live broadcast spot with local cable access TV. If none are available, project team will record and make it available through local cable access TV for on demand viewing.

Meeting Date: Monday, March 20, 2023
Meeting Time: 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Meeting Place: Council Chambers at Watertown City Hall and virtually, via Zoom meeting

(Note: if typing, use all lowercase)

Meeting ID: 899 7007 0395
Passcode: 02472
Telephone Dial-in 646) 558-8656

First-time Zoom help:

Project Contact:
Kai Vernstrom, Director of Acquisitions
Broder – (617) 292-2009

17 thoughts on “REMINDER: Hear About Proposed Project on Cannistraro Site in West Watertown

  1. Feel like this development is a little tone deaf based on the comments about our future town development planning meeting….

    The usual complaints about too big, too tall, too close to single family homes and residential neighborhoods will fall on deaf ears once again. If we could only vote out our town planners.

    Good luck to the residents in that neighborhood. Please come to the mtg, email all the town councilors, your state rep….be vocal

    Imagine if we took our real estate tax dollars and bought this land, the russos site, the sterrit lumber site…..such great spots for green space, fields, playgrounds, courts, etc. That would be vision

  2. The russo’s site alone sold for roughly $36m. If we turned it into a playground it would probably rank as the most expensive playground in the country. We could pay off nearly 25% of the new high school with that kind of money and it would be a much better use of funds.

    There are towns that would jump for joy if a company came to their town offering 6 figure jobs doing cutting edge work. Biotech is the industry that excels in MA, it is best for Watertown to figure out how to capitalize on it with what we have to offer.

    • Eric, the developers capitalize, the residents get stuck with the burden of increased traffic, noise and light pollution, being walled in by 80+ ft tall buildings. This building will tower over the Rock gym. Asking the developer to reduce building height always falls on deaf ears. As a resident in this neighborhood, it will impact my life daily with the addition of the biotech moving into the Sterritt and Russos sites. One can predict that other smaller buildings near this site will also be up for sale soon makeing this a major headache for us. A two and three floor building with set backs and varying roofs heights I might support but this proposal is too much for a single and 2-family home residential neighborhood.

      • Agreed, there is a balance between the homes/neighborhood and new development. I agree that too high is actually most of the problem along with not enough set back when abutting homes. These are issues that can be remedied but the investors see it as a loss of revenue. Voices need to be heard, the only tool that residents have is their voice, feet to get to meetings and emailing.

  3. There goes the neighborhood…. It’s an absolute monstrosity. Sigh….Everyone already runs the light on Rosedale and Acton St. ….. If the other buildings that have been built across the street from the proposed site are any indication = U G L Y you ain’t got no alibi it’s gonna be ugly.

  4. This is definitely an IMPORTANT MEETING for west end residents to attend. This site is across the street from single and two-family homes on Acton St. and will tower over them. It will affect homes at the end of Rosedale and the other streets off of Acton St. It will also affect the condos on Pleasant St.

    The traffic congestion will increase at the Waltham St./Rosedale St./Pleasant St. intersection where it already gets backed up at key times. We know the traffic will branch off on the side streets to Main St. and continue on Waltham St. and Pleasant St. to the Bridge St. intersection that is already overwhelmed at peak times.

    The west end will shortly be dealing with the Sterritt Lumber and Russo sites that will be adding traffic with the biolabs that are going in there in the next year. The roads can’t handle all of this extra traffic, no matter what the ‘infamous’ traffic studies say. There are no solutions when you add this much density to this area with so few roads.

    When you look at these plans, you will see the garage is 7 stories high with a height of 83’11” for the parking and a total height of 92’3″. It appears that the Central Rock Gym is 64′ high. The new lab seems to have a height of 110′ 9″ at the Acton St. side. Have they looked at the shading effect on the houses on Acton St.? The print on the plans is so small we need a magnifying glass to try to read the details.

    They are adding 369 more parking spaces to the site for a total of 570.
    We don’t know what will be in the two retail stores and what traffic those will generate. It will be interesting to see how the developers answer those questions at the meeting.

    If you attend the Comprehensive Plan meeting tonight, March 9, you will see that the west end is considered a TRANSFORMATIVE AREA with many more changes to come. Many of the low-height small businesses on Pleasant St. will most likely be replaced with much higher structures as they are bought out by developers. PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN THIS MEETING ALSO to get the details on what is in the draft plans. If we don’t speak up NOW, we won’t recognize our city in the near future.

    They say that want to have diverse businesses, but they still see a focus on labs/life science types of businesses. Do you want this much duplication of businesses when there are numerous articles in papers saying that this industry may slow down with so many being developed? If they are overdeveloped what will happen to these buildings? Do you want this much density in our 4 square mile city?

    Please pass on the information on the Cannistraro meeting to your friends and neighbors. Sadly many people still don’t access the Watertown News and get the wonderful information that Charlie B. provides daily because they don’t know about this publication. Please pass this information to others too so they are informed and can sign up for the subscription. There is a lot happening in Watertown these days and people need to be informed.

  5. The Boston Business Journal today (subscription may be required) has a good article about what Cambridge is doing regarding lab space development. The city council set up a working group to study the issue and recommend size restrictions, hazard-level restrictions, limits on noise and light from labs and rooftop mechanicals, and even new zoning to limit where the labs can be built. This type of committee/study study is something Watertown should undertake with a moratorium on further building until the results are in.

    • The linked article says that the Cambridge proposal to limit size of buildings applies only to certain neighborhoods (not the whole city). There is NO need to take action to limit biotech in Watertown. Biotech is a clean, modern industry which brings educated people and high paying jobs to Watertown.

      • Yes, limiting forms of development in certain neighborhoods is called zoning. Watertown has to revisit its zoning regulations. And obviously there is a well reasoned argument about limiting labs — or other industries — when they encroach into neighborhoods.

  6. Joan Gumbleton on March 17, 2023 at 5:43 AM said:
    The DEADLINE for submitting your comments on the Comprehensive Plan draft is March 24, less than a week away. It is IMPORTANT for as many people as possible to submit your opinions and thoughts on the direction of Watertown going forward. The last time we had this opportunity was in 2015 and perhaps we should have looked more closely at that plan.

    Many people are not happy with the 60 plus biolabs/life science businesses that are currently in Watertown and five more permits were being reviewed a few nights ago. They are massive buildings as you can witness on Galen St. Those who would like to address their concerns for this biolab development at the Cannistraro site, please attend the meeting Monday night, the 20th.

    It is the opinion of many people that our CURRENT ZONING REGULATIONS need to be addressed NOW so that we can perhaps amend them so that super high buildings can’t continue to replace any of the smaller businesses with lower heights if developers make an offer that can’t be refused.

    It does not seem that the city is encouraging a diversity of businesses and jobs. With the money that the big developers have, they seem to be able to walk in and build by right with the current zoning laws. Do we want to be an elitist city that only has jobs for those with science degrees? What happens if this industry goes bust with the rocky economy and high interest rates or overdevelopment of them? Will we have a lot of empty buildings if they fail? Is our Planning and Development Dept. group encouraging other types of businesses to come here that don’t need to be so dense and might provide different types of jobs so people who live here can work here?

    Maybe we should PUT A HALT to all building permits and plans right now until we get a better handle on our vision and desires and see where the economy is going.

    PLEASE fill in the Comprehensive Plan Survey ASAP and get your thoughts on record. If we don’t get ahead of these developments now, we won’t be able to stop or amend them. This may be the last chance for many years to protect us from being another Cambridge, which most people don’t seem to want. Go into and search for the Comprehensive Plan Survey. It will only take a few minutes of your time to make a difference in all of our lives going forward.

  7. Watertown News is such an excellent way to hear what’s going on in our city. Mark your calendars for March 20 at 6:30. At the very least, get the information. Be there if you care!

  8. In case anyone was wondering how the meeting with the developer went, the meeting was well attended, about 40 people in person, 70 or more online (zoom).
    What was clear to me was that everyone was concerned about the height, mass and scale of this building abutting a residential neighborhood. Also, major discussions around the size and scale of a 7-floor parking garage were very apparent. There was also considerations around noise, light pollution and usual traffic concerns. Unfortunately a scaled down version of this project did not seem to be up for discussion. After the prevoius weeks Comprehensive Planning meeting and last nights “community” meeting it is very clear to me that the zoning plan for the Pleasant street corridor has allowed buildings like this with zero thought for the abutters. Steve Magoon and Gideon Schreiber have done zero to help this neighborhood and don’t show initiative to effect immediate changes to allowable building heights, closing the mechanical penthouse loophole, etc. Their two opinions are vastly different than the neighbors and residents of this area (and probably most of watertown at this point). Regulations from a decade ago are out of date and out of touch with the pace of development in this town. This 80’ft tall building will be the 1st of many to come to Acton st, Howard st and Pleasant street. Its only a matter of time before Pulpdent and ML Macdonald are up for sale and too become yet another big box biotech. A more thoughtful, neighborhood centric design is possible with smart planning and out of the box thinking, however until then, this neighborhood will forever be in the shadow of the wants and demands of big developers.

    • Yup, was at the meeting last night. This Developer sure didn’t seem to budge on anything. Funny he kept referring to a Memorial Drive project they did, didn’t mention anything about houses, by the size of the building I don’t think he was near residential. Memorial Drive is a good location for what they want to do not Rosedale Rd. Joan G. even gave them the outside the box, with over 55 housing, now that may have worked but no takers. You are right this is just the start and imagine 80′ next to the houses on the other side. Definitely another meeting or as many as it takes should take place, a lot of residents concerns did not get addressed that is not right

  9. Comment submitted by Michele Waldman:

    To Watertown Residents:

    I would like to add to the many negative comments expressed at the Public Input Meeting on March 20th at City Hall regarding the proposed buildings at the Cannistrato Site on Pleasant Street in District D in Watertown. The buildings are too large, too tall and will create more traffic problems in the area.

    The so called public space is a court yard which I don’t believe will add inviting open space to the neighborhood. A neighborhood of neat well cared for homes will be overshadowed by this giant development. Don’t kid yourself, this isn’t progress.

    The proposed development of the Cannistraro Site is another major disappointment along the Pleasant Street Corridor.

    Michele Waldman
    Resident District D

    • One common mistake is assuming that today’s conditions will stay the same into next month, next year, 2 years from now, etc. All businesses are subject to cyclic economic activity. In the case of biopharma, cycles are driven by scientific advances and availability of financing. 2023 is a year of reshuffling in the small biotech market. This predicts *nothing* about 2024 conditions. Recall that no one foresaw the explosion of biotech/ biopharmaceutical activity in 2020.

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