Union Square Revitalization
The Union Square Revitalization is a plan for an economic renaissance in Union Square that is the culmination of decades of planning and effort by the residents, businesses and the city. Central to the plan is the reintroduction of light-rail transit (the Green Line Extension) that will provide greater connectivity to the region and be a catalyst for the revival of USQ as Somerville’s “downtown”. The plan envisions USQ’s evolution into an urban employment district that includes high-quality, multi-story office, research & development and residential uses with retail, restaurant and service uses at street level.
The goals of the plan include: generate new jobs and housing for residents of all socio-economic levels, increase the tax base, create high quality open spaces, improve local infrastructure, give USQ a cohesive destination and make it a regional destination, and alleviate flooding, environmental contamination and industrial blight.
The plan goals have been refined through the community-based planning processes that created the SomerVision Comprehensive Plan, the Union Square Revitalization Plan and most recently, the award-winning Union Square Neighborhood Plan.
D Blocks Plan
The D Blocks are 15.5 acres identified in the state-approved Union Square Revitalization Plan whose redevelopment will serve as the catalyst for Union Square’s revitalization. Currently the D Blocks (pictured above) are primarily low-density industrial and automotive uses that are not consistent with the community’s long-term vision.
Approximately 2.3 million square feet of mixed-use development ($1B of investment) will be constructed on the D Blocks over the next 15-20 years. 60% of the development is currently planned as commercial or 1.38 million square feet of jobs producing commercial uses including office, lab, hotel, retail and arts and creative economy spaces. The balance will be new residential development that will include 20% affordable housing and will help Somerville contribute to addressing the regional housing crisis. The plan will include 25% public open space which will include over 2.5 acres of high quality civic spaces.
COMMITMENT TO NEGOTIATING A COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT
US2 has agreed to contribute over $3.68 million to fund community benefits in Union Square. This is in addition to the benefits like affordable housing and open space outlined in zoning. US2 has committed in writing to negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement with a broad cross section of stakeholders who are now working to form a Neighborhood Council.
GREEN LINE STATION
US2 will be purchasing the property at Prospect Street and Somerville Ave for $9.3+ million dollars. This is the future home of the Green Line Station. The state estimates that this Station will attract roughly 9,000 riders each day. As Union Square emerges as a regional employment center, public transportation is critical to our success. The Green Line is expected to open in 2021.
Development of Union Square will contribute to city improvements of the outdated water and sewage infrastructure. Somerville was recently awarded a 13.5 million dollar MassWorks grant for much needed infrastructure upgrades and streetscape improvements.Public and private investment in Union Square will create safer pedestrian walk-ways and bike lanes.
US2 will create 2.5+ acres of public green and open space, trees and places around the square to sit and have lunch, including a Neighborhood Park.
Union Square will soon become an innovation hub. Together, we will create 1.38M square feet of new employment space. The 60% commercial space to be developed will include lab space and an opportunity for small business owners to thrive.
US2 will develop different housing types for households at different life stages, including 20% affordable units. New housing will help to alleviate local housing pressure in Somerville and provide more opportunities for families and young professionals.
The development will create 5,000 permanent jobs and 4,000 new construction jobs. US2 has made a local hiring and veteran hiring commitment to ensure Somerville workers are working on Somerville projects.