The Somerville Redevelopment Authority meeting began without any comment from the public on Wednesday, May 19. Greg Karczewski, President at US2, was a guest presenter at the meeting. US2 is the Master Developer for the Union Square project which is currently under construction.
US2 is responsible for the development of a couple sites, including D2 and D3.1, which will complement the new MBTA station being built in the Union Square area.
“With regards to the D2 site, if you’ve been around there anytime recently you will have noticed increasing levels of activity. Current tasks on site include foundation work, utilities and we will begin work on the T station elevator soon,” Karczewski said.
According to Karczewski, the D2 property closed in December of 2020 and has been under construction ever since.“I understand the timelines don’t align with the station slated to be finished in October and the elevator is not, do you have any sense of how long that gap will be?” asked Patrick McCormick.
Though the elevator will not be completed at the same time as other site amenities, US2 believes that the surrounding lab facilities should be ready to open by the first quarter of 2022 and that residential units should be ready by 2023.
“We’re working every day with the T to manage that critical path for the elevator. We’re hopeful that after the first of the year we will have the elevator running,” Karczewski said.
In the interim without an elevator, Karczewski says that US2 will be working with the city and the MBTA on providing access for pedestrians from the north side of the station with a temporary ADA path and an alternative access point from the Charlestown and Allen Street intersection. There will also be bike facilities for T workers and commuters.
In other news, the Redevelopment Authority is overseeing the progression of a project centered around creating a public-private partnership development of a site located at 90 Washington Street.
The Covid-19 pandemic is included in the list of complications which have plagued the multi-phase process so far, and though the project has already been approved and the property at 90 Washington Street has been acquired, there have been some delays in the phase 3 early decision of project delineation.
“The Building Committee has not done an effective job of communicating to the SRA or the City Council about any decisions they’ve made about a standalone project or a vertical integration project,” said Director of Economic Development Tom Galligani.
While studying options for potential building approaches, city Planning and Public Safety staff noticed logistical challenges to some of the construction plans.
“In particular, there’s a cost premium for building vertically,” Galligani said, “You’re basically building the public safety portion of the building, and then a separate building on top of it, they don’t get to share a central core which increases costs.”
Galligani informed the Redevelopment Authority that the Building Committee would pursue a standalone design for the Public Safety building, which will be accompanied by private retailers in the surrounding space.