Assembly Square in Somerville is being revitalized and the stimulus program is playing a key part in this process.
Recovery Act Impact: Somerville's Assembly Square
Total funding: $14.9 million
Development of mile-long Assembly Square Drive
Road is the "spine" of the $350 million Assembly Square redevelopment project
70-acre development includes office, retail and entertainment space
"You used to see an industrial wasteland here," said Don Briggs, an executive with Federal Reality Investment Trust, which is the developer on the project. "Now we see construction and people believe that things are happening. Stimulus was critical to our success."
Briggs is referring to the $14.9 million stimulus grant that is funding the construction of Assembly Square Drive, the road that winds through the 70-acre development and is the main thoroughfare of the $350 million neighborhood project. "[The new road] definitely unlocked the potential for this project," said Briggs.
According to Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, the public investment in this road will leverage a billion dollars worth of private investment and tens of thousands of new and permanent jobs as well as property tax dollars for the city and tax revenues for the state. "Investing in a down market in infrastructure is a smart thing to do," said Curtatone. "This is the best investment we could have made."
When completed, Assembly Square will has nearly five million square feet of development, including 1.75 square feet of office space, 1.1 million square feet of
retail space, 2100 residential units and plans for a movie theater and an entertainment center. A new Orange Line "T" Stop is also being built in the heart of the new neighborhood.
"The road is the spine of the project," said Briggs. Assembly Square Drive will snake through the development for a mile and, noted Briggs, had to be developed in order for the project to move forward.
"This is the most important development in the city's history," said Curtatone. "There is a huge demand to build it and we are getting incredible support."