New Plan for Arsenal on the Charles Approved by Planning Board, Millions in Mitigation Projects to be Done

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.

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.

Public Can Comment on Proposed Removal of Contaminated Soil from Arsenal on the Charles

The oval with blue stripes is the location of the contaminated soil at the east end of Building 311 in the Arsenal on the Charles. The U.S. Army has come up with a plan to remove contaminated soil from the former military site, which is now the Arsenal on the Charles. The public can submit comment on the proposed plan until April 14, 2021. The area where the contaminated soil is located is by 311 building on the Arsenal on the Charles site. Building 311, the long building along Arsenal Street, is home to Athenahealth, and used to be home to Boston Sports Club.

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.