US2 receives zoning approval for $1 billion Union Square redevelopment

July 07, 2017 - Owners Developers & Managers

Somerville, MA After three years of a community-based planning and rezoning process, the Somerville Board of Aldermen voted to approve zoning for US2 that will allow the city to move forward on the redevelopment of Union Sq. 

“Union Square’s proximity to Kendall Sq., MIT and Harvard - one the densest innovation centers in the world - makes it poised for the next wave of economic growth,” said Greg Karczewski, president of US2. “We’re bringing 2.3 million s/f of new mixed-use, transit-oriented development to one of the hottest real estate markets. Somerville has great restaurants, historic neighborhoods, a distinctive creative culture and a young, educated workforce, making it one of the most up-and-coming cities in the U.S.” 

Approval on zoning sets the stage for strategic, long-term growth in Union Sq. centered on creating an employment center and millions of dollars in tax revenue through commercial development. The vote also solidifies the city’s commitment to the $2.3 billion Green Line extension, connecting Union Sq. with surrounding neighborhoods and further economic growth. To fulfill this key transportation need, US2 will make a $5.5 million public benefits contribution toward the Green Line project and its $1 billion of private real estate investments will generate critical new property tax growth. The city and its residents are poised to collaborate with US2 on the redevelopment, and together have the opportunity to reshape the future of the neighborhood to attract new employers and workers who call Union Sq. home while maintaining the neighborhood’s authenticity.

At full build-out, the project is projected to be a 2.3 million-s/f mixed-use employment center, with 1.38 million s/f of new work spaces as well as an abundance of high quality civic spaces. It will create more than 5,000 new permanent jobs and more than 4,000 new construction jobs as well as generate millions in jobs linkage payments to support local workforce development initiatives. The project will also provide needed housing for workers, empty nesters, families and everyone in between. $19.2 million of public benefit contributions from US2 include $5.5 million for the Green Line extension and millions in infrastructure improvements, better connecting Union Sq. and making it a key driver of the regional economy. New development will generate over $10 million in new tax revenue every year and permitting fees that will also total millions of dollars. A mix of commercial and residential uses will activate Union Square during work hours and in the evenings as well as bringing significant new spending to neighborhood businesses.

With zoning now in place, US2 will present its coordinated development plan for the Union Sq. revitalization parcel to the community in the coming months. The start of construction of the initial phase of the project is planned for 2018 and will be completed before the opening of the new Green Line station in 2021.

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