Plans for smaller Samonova expansion resubmitted, emphasizing music and arts versus business


A rendering of The Alley, an arts-centered area in a proposed expansion of Somerville’s Somernovo campus. (Image source: Lafite Real Estate)

A scaled-down plan to expand the Somernova Technology and Business Park was presented to the city of Somerville on May 6 and unveiled to the public on Monday. The plan is now 1.6 million square feet instead of 1.9 million square feet and adds 100 homes (20 of them affordable) and dedicated arts and music spaces, while reducing some parking and building heights. There was no housing in the original plan.

The original $3.3 billion, 10-year redevelopment plan for the Somerville Avenue complex in the Second Ward, now 300,000 square feet, was launched on Sept. 25, but after receiving approval from the Somerville Community and Union Square Neighborhood Council Withdrawn in February after feedback. “We look forward to continuing to listen to the community,” the developer said, advising people to look forward to the renovations.

Construction costs and timelines for the new proposals were not immediately available.

Developer Rafi Properties said Monday: “Since the original version was withdrawn, our team has redesigned the proposed zoning amendment to retain much of the same impacts but better reflect what we heard from the community about Samonova. Information on how to best serve Somerville. Green spaces and youth-driven community centers are described as solving problems through a combination of science and engineering.

The proposed zoning is known as the Samonova Innovation Zoning, a climate, arts and equity initiative that would allow companies already on campus as Greentown Labs tenants and the Samonova Innovation Center to grow and retain their headquarters and light industrial manufacturing “, said Lafite Real Estate.

The revised zoning is intended to help protect and grow the city’s music and arts scene by creating affordable arts spaces, such as music recording and rehearsal spaces and locally-run independent music venues, the proposal said.

Changes include limiting proposed building heights to 6 to 9 storeys (6 storeys for a 100-unit residential tower) from the originally proposed 9 to 14 storeys; a 40% reduction in parking spaces from 1,250 to 748, bicycle parking Parking spaces were increased from 400 to 500; and a promise was made to make the site “transit-ready” to connect to a potential MBTA train station.

Nonetheless, the reduction in the overall plan size also resulted in the loss of community and commercial space.

Last year’s proposed R&D area was 1.1 million sq ft, now the proposal is 690,000 sq ft, and office and commercial space at 330,000 sq ft has also been reduced to 300,000 sq ft.

The proposed civic space represents 18 percent of the site, up from 12 percent, and includes a 37,000-square-foot courtyard and park, as well as two smaller green spaces of 7,200 square feet and 11,000 square feet with a “public room.” “Interior Civic Space Space.” But in terms of square footage, the increase is smaller: 80,000 square feet was originally planned, but 63,000 square feet is now proposed. (The number of trees to be added—more than 100—looks the same in the updated plan.)

The arts district will be reduced from 77,000 square feet to 65,670 square feet, mainly concentrated in an area called The Alley, which Rafi Properties said will be a place for local musicians to “create, rehearse, write, record, perform” through music and performance. and learning” venues of all sizes, including speakeasies, cafes, music and arts-focused retail, and 25,000 square feet of affordable music recording and rehearsal space. There will also be large, building-sized art pieces such as murals needed to “create opportunities for locally, regionally and internationally renowned artists.”

The original proposed 84,200 square feet of retail space includes 30,000 square feet for fitness (up from 40,000 square feet) and 4,200 square feet for health and wellness (up from 6,800 square feet); 28,500 square feet of food and beverage space (up from 29,000 square feet) ft. decreased slightly); 5,000 sq. ft. for day care (originally 8,400 sq. ft.). Lafite Properties said the bouldering project and Aeronaut Brewery will remain on campus.



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