A view of the plans for the Watertown Mall Transformation Project. (Illustration from Alexandria Real Estate)
Wednesday night, the Planning Board will hear plans for the redevelopment of the Watertown Mall and nearby properties planned by Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Alexandria seeks a Master Plan Special Permit with Site Plan Review for what is known as the Watertown Mall Transformation Project. The plan calls for four office/lab buildings, a new retail building, two amenity spaces and two parking garages, including one that would be a separate project at 480 Arenal Way. The application reads: “The proposed master plan would create a new mix of uses within a development that spans 4 existing parcels, carried out in phases, with laboratory/R&D, retail, office, commercial and amenity space within 8 buildings (Target/building to remain), with supporting structured and surface parking.”
Alexandria Real Estate EquitiesA conceptual drawing of the garage that may go at 480 Arsenal Way, and would be part of the “Watertown Mall Transformation.” (UPDATE: The date of the meeting was changed because the original date conflicted with the Hanukkah holiday. The new date is reflected in the story). The following announcement was sent out by the City of Watertown:
Please join Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (ARE) for a review and discussion on plans for a proposed garage in the front section of the surface parking area at 480 Arsenal Way. The purpose of this meeting is to update the public with ARE’s proposed plans to develop the garage, as part of ARE’s Watertown Mall transformation.
Alexandria Real Estate EquitiesA rendering of the conceptual plans for the Watertown Mall property and adjacent properties. Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. will discuss conceptual plans for the Watertown Mall property and adjacent properties. Meetings are planned for Thursday, Jan. 27 and Tuesday, March 1 and will be held virtually. The plan calls for keeping the Target store, and building a campus on the properties that will include life science, retail and community uses.
Alexandria Real Estate EquitiesA view of Building 2 with a pedestrian plaza in front. It is one of the new additions to the Arsenal on the Charles proposed by Alexandria Real Estate and approved by the Planning Board. The owners of the Arsenal on the Charles complex got approval for changes to the master plan, including three new buildings, and the owners will pay millions in mitigation funding. The plan had been criticized for the number of trees that would be lost in the projects, but the approved plan saves some of those originally slated to be removed. On July 14, the Planning Board gave approval for the amendment to the master plan proposed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
Alexandria Real Estate EquitiesAn overhead view of the Arsenal on the Charles complex, with the new buildings proposed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities shown in blueish-grey. Arsenal Street runs along the top of the map, and North Beacon Street is the road the curves toward the bottom. Alexandria Real Estate Equities discussed their master plan for the Arsenal on the Charles complex at last Wednesday’s Planning Board meeting. The group will continue the discussion at a special Planning Board meeting on Monday, June 14. The group purchased the property located at 311 Arsenal St.
We would like to voice our support for the modification of the Masterplan for the Arsenal on the Charles site which was submitted by Alexandria Real Estate (ARE) to the planning Board on June 9th.
For many reasons, we believe that the ARE submission is far superior to the current Master Plan.
The proposal brings economic development that is consistent with Watertown’s comprehensive plan, bringing excellent job opportunities in growing fields. It features state of the art carbon reduction strategies for its buildings, aggressive targets for reducing its overall carbon footprint and increased publicly accessible open space.
ARE has previously worked in Watertown and has a demonstrated track record as a developer that engages with neighbors and contributes to the community. Responding to citizen concerns, ARE modified its earlier landscaping plan to address the community’s recognition of the importance of trees for a healthy environment. The plan that was presented to the Planning Board calls for 129 more trees than are currently on the site. ARE has developed a comprehensive plan that will maintain more of the larger trees on the site, transplant some existing trees to new locations and plant many new trees, paying careful attention to selecting species most suited to the Intended use. We have seen many transformations of the Watertown Arsenal over the years. The community had important feedback for ARE. The developer listened and responded, leading to an excellent proposal for a sustainable and attractive project that will make the thriving Arsenal property even better than it is today.
Samatha Rao VuppalaShade trees in the Arsenal on the Charles complex. (The following piece was submitted by Sharon Bromberg-Lim, a member of Trees for Watertown)
A large real estate equities firm arrives in a small New England town. Based in California, the firm has rolled into many towns before, bought up properties big and small, and plunked down buildings. This project is just one of many investments that the firm owns. The firm says it must cut down more than 200 trees to put up its buildings.
The Watertown Mall — home to Target and Best Buy — has been sold for $130 million to the owner of other major properties in Town. The sale by Watertown Mall Associates Limited Partnership and New York-based Rosen Associates to Alexandria Real Estate Equities closed on Thursday, according to a story on Bisnow Boston which reported the closing of the deal. Alexandria has become a big player in biotech in Watertown. It also owns the Arsenal on the Charles and the former Mount Auburn Club.
The future of the property is not clear, with Target having a lease through 2033, according to Bisnow.com. Other tenants of the Watertown Mall include the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Joyful Garden restaurant, Miss Maria’s School of Dance, Carter’s and Work N’ Gear.