Hearing About Future of Arsenal on the Charles, Plan for Trees on Campus Continues Monday

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.

LETTER: In Support of Modification of Plan for Arsenal on the Charles

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.

Deal to Sell Watertown Mall Closes, Purchased by Owners of Arsenal on the Charles

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.

New Owners of Arsenal on Charles Discussing Additions to Site at Community Meeting

Building 1 is one of the new additions to the Arsenal on the Charles proposed to be built by the new owners. The following information was provided by Alexandria Real Estate Equities:

Please join Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (ARE) for a review and discussion on conceptual plans for the Arsenal on the Charles (AOTC) campus, which ARE purchased from Athena Arsenal, LLC in late 2019. The purpose of these meetings will be to present and discuss ARE’s proposed plans to redevelop AOTC into a collaborative and innovative campus including life science, office, retail, and community uses, as well as publicly accessible open spaces and streetscape improvements. Discussion will highlight the changes from Athena Arsenal LLC’s previously approved Campus Master Plan Special Permit and Site Plan Review (PB-2016-01) as well as conceptual designs for the new buildings and the associated public realm including pedestrian and bicycle connectivity tothe adjacent neighborhoods. (note: postings will be available online prior to the first meeting)

An overhead view of Arsenal on the Charles, showing the proposed new additions: Building 1, Building 2, the Connector and Site D.

We will be hosting two community information meetings: one on February 3rd, and the other on March 11th.