archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Development Projects

Development Projects New urban and/or architectural developments in Boston metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-01-2016, 07:04 PM   #1
tysmith95
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: North Shore
Posts: 2,109
Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Northland Investment Corp. is unveiling an ambitious plan on Wednesday to remake its properties along Newtonís Needham Street by razing and replacing many of its retail shops there ó including the Marshalls plaza and the popular T.J. Maxx store across the street ó and adding hundreds of new apartments.

In all, the new development would probably exceed 1 million square feet on 27 acres, with rebuilt structures on both sides of the busy thoroughfare. The Newton firm will tear down the two retail properties, as well as industrial buildings behind them, while keeping the historic mill complex at the corner of Oak and Needham streets.


Northland senior vice president Peter Standish said plans are still in preliminary stages, but the current goal is to build 950 apartments and about 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, essentially doubling the amount of retail space there now. In many cases, the apartments would be built above the shops, and many of them would be positioned on a new ďMain StreetĒ-style road that would run perpendicular to Needham Street, extending toward the Upper Falls Greenway.
Didn't want to quote the whole Globe article but the Mayor of Newton has expressed support for this project. They plan on re-branding the Newton-Needham boundary as an innovation district. Road improvments are also planned around the site. The mayor says this could be the biggest development Newton has seen "in a generation". I couldn't find any renderings.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/...OAJ/story.html

Last edited by tysmith95; 11-01-2016 at 07:39 PM.
tysmith95 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 09:49 AM   #2
Shepard
Senior Member
 
Shepard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 3,356
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Understanding what I do about what this particular developer owns, this parallel "main street" road won't actually parallel all of Needham Street, so it's very likely that the same clusterf*k of traffic will not just remain, but get far worse. That being said, the devil is in the details, and I think it's wonderful to see greater density proposed here. I just hope they do it right to minimize traffic-related opposition.

Hell, if this winds up being the most dense stretch of Newton, then opening up a new GL branch here on the Upper Falls branch should be made a greater priority on the MBTA wish list.
Shepard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 09:55 AM   #3
tysmith95
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: North Shore
Posts: 2,109
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton



http://village14.com/2016/11/01/pull...#axzz4OrI4NzID
tysmith95 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 11:15 AM   #4
F-Line to Dudley
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 4,417
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
UF Greenway's actually going to frame it on the NE side too when they get around to trailing the freight spur that crosses Needham St. behind Modell's, winds around the back of those properties, crosses the Charles at Christina St., then joins up with the small completed segment of trail spanning Highland on the other side of the bridge to 4th Ave. & Kendrick. Probably will do the spur from the main trail to Highland imminently in advance of this development. Then the midsection to Christina St. has got private property to square easements with before they can build it; that spur was privately owned by the industrial park developers and will take records sleuthing to find out exactly which easements it crosses and get all parties to sign off on it.

Spur trail's a big deal because that's what serves up access to entirety of the Needham/Dedham side of Cutler Park via Blue Heron Trail. Blue Heron already spans Kendrick to Great Plain Ave., with pre-existing duck-under of the Needham Line. All it would need is some better landscaping and surfacing commensurate with the bike traffic the UF + spur trails can throw at it down 4th Ave. to serve up an immediate 2-1/2 miles more contiguous recreation trail. Maybe even with a future connection to the West Roxbury side of the river if MassDOT could be convinced to reinstate the missing 2nd track deck on the Needham Line bridge crossing the Charles @ the city line, designating that berth for the Blue Heron connection to Rivermoor Park, Millennium Park, and VFW Pkwy. The pieces are coming together quickly as soon as they can solve the easements on the spur for the link-up to all pre-existing trails.
F-Line to Dudley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 11:58 AM   #5
Equilibria
Senior Member
 
Equilibria's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,005
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Sure seems like this is the current render:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/...OAJ/story.html

Equilibria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 12:00 PM   #6
West
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 736
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Northland and the City held an open house presentation today to introduce the project, I attended. Very, very impressive first stab. I took pics of the render boards that will post later, but I'm afraid they are crap quality - sunlight streaming in the temporary tent windows causing severe back glare. They will have them on public display some evenings, I'll try to get better pics. I doubt they'll post online for a bit, they want to get farther into the community feedback process without fielding comments from the world in general.

ETA: Equilibria beat me to it; hadn't seen that online yet. They had that one up, and lots more too.
West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 12:24 PM   #7
Equilibria
Senior Member
 
Equilibria's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,005
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by West View Post
Northland and the City held an open house presentation today to introduce the project, I attended. Very, very impressive first stab. I took pics of the render boards that will post later, but I'm afraid they are crap quality - sunlight streaming in the temporary tent windows causing severe back glare. They will have them on public display some evenings, I'll try to get better pics. I doubt they'll post online for a bit, they want to get farther into the community feedback process without fielding comments from the world in general.

ETA: Equilibria beat me to it; hadn't seen that online yet. They had that one up, and lots more too.
Looking forward to your pics .

First impression: Good ideas, but holy hell is this going to be a traffic catastrophe. Many of Needham St's issues can be attributed to left turning, and I think MassDOT's rebuild plan addresses some of that by limiting access points and extending a full two-way lane. That said, the biggest issue is that Needham St. has no intermediate access points - all the escape routes to Winchester are one-way or blocked off.

I see in the render that Northland whiffed on the obvious connection from Tower to Chestnut. That's not technically their property, but it would be critical for the City to push for it and for Northland to build it. In a related an stranger aside, Northland seems to be extending Charlemont St. all the way through from Winchester St. into their site - that road's lined with homes, so I assume the neighbors will chain themselves to the retaining wall at the end to keep that cut-through from happening.

Newton needs to work a lot of angles all at once to keep too much of the burden from falling on one street. Build Charlemont, but also open Columbia, Rockland, and Jaconnet. On the other side, build Tower/Chestnut and punch an extension of Rockland through the DPW yard and the "Nexus at Newton" parking lot down the spur ROW.

Like this: (signals at the yellow circles - the one I put at Jaconnet should be at Rockland).



A lot of this needs to be done at once, because if you don't spread the pain, the residents on each street really will be screwed.
Equilibria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 12:29 PM   #8
FK4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,860
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
Looking forward to your pics .

First impression: Good ideas, but holy hell is this going to be a traffic catastrophe. Many of Needham St's issues can be attributed to left turning, and I think MassDOT's rebuild plan addresses some of that by limiting access points and extending a full two-way lane. That said, the biggest issue is that Needham St. has no intermediate access points - all the escape routes to Winchester are one-way or blocked off.

I see in the render that Northland whiffed on the obvious connection from Tower to Chestnut. That's not technically their property, but it would be critical for the City to push for it and for Northland to build it. In a related an stranger aside, Northland seems to be extending Charlemont St. all the way through from Winchester St. into their site - that road's lined with homes, so I assume the neighbors will chain themselves to the retaining wall at the end to keep that cut-through from happening.

Newton needs to work a lot of angles all at once to keep too much of the burden from falling on one street. Build Charlemont, but also open Columbia, Rockland, and Jaconnet. On the other side, build Tower/Chestnut and punch an extension of Rockland through the DPW yard and the "Nexus at Newton" parking lot down the spur ROW.

Like this: (signals at the yellow circles - the one I put at Jaconnet should be at Rockland).



A lot of this needs to be done at once, because if you don't spread the pain, the residents on each street really will be screwed.
Agree -- Needham St has been a traffic nightmare since I was a kid. And it's (or largely) because the stupid train line has no crossings on the one side and poorly planned suburban streets on the other. They absolutely need to build more connections across the rail bed for this.

And... for fuck's sake, this just seems the most obvious place to make a green line extension. Why can't they just extend it to 128 as a first step? Now we have the greenway people and before we know it itll be like the Minuteman, with way too much public support to ever consider putting trains back.
FK4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 12:34 PM   #9
Equilibria
Senior Member
 
Equilibria's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,005
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
And... for fuck's sake, this just seems the most obvious place to make a green line extension. Why can't they just extend it to 128 as a first step? Now we have the greenway people and before we know it itll be like the Minuteman, with way too much public support to ever consider putting trains back.
Cue F-Line telling you how the travel time differential between Route 128 and Riverside from Newton Highlands is going to screw up D-Line scheduling and equipment assignments...
Equilibria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 01:52 PM   #10
West
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 736
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Equilibria,

I agree with your concept of additional cut-throughs out to either side, this area needs that desperately. Lots of us locals have been harping on that forever but it seems the City is unwilling to take on the folks in those ill-advised mini- subdivisions to the East and the Upper Falls folks to the West.

The proposal on Charlemont connection to the east is only for pedestrian access. All speakers made much of that theme: pedestrian access to all directions!! More people will walk from those neighborhoods instead of driving!! That may be true, it's completely whacked in many places, you have to walk a mile to get a distance that would be under 200 yards if it wasn't all fenced off.

Mayor Warren announced that the City now has funding to sort out the Oak/Needham/Christina intersection starting in 2017. The misalignment of Christina to Oak does indeed cause an astounding amount of traffic mess, and does so at one of the few places where people can opt out of the primary north/south egress from the area. So that could help. He also announced that the MassDOT plan for sorting out Needham Street more genially has funding allotted to start construction in 2018. I think that project spills over the river to where it is Highland, in Needham. I have been underwhelmed by that set of proposals, but i suppose it's better than nothing.

But the way the mayor, alderman, resident council member, and Northland were all lined up on "lots more pedestrian access, it'll be great!!", it seems like the greater access street idea died already behind closed doors. I'll be trying to revive it but I do not expect many others will.

So the traffic will be a mess. It's always been a mess. Will it be a neighborhood killing mess with all this built? I dunno. As someone who lives in Newton and not so far from here, the traffic isn't my main concern; I can avoid it by timing my visits, or bike walk there some of time in nice weather. I've got bigger reasons to weigh in than the traffic. Such as: 900 new units in Newton? Holy crap is that ever tantalizing.

The mayor gave a spiel about having the conversation in a civil fashion. He delivered it vey professionally. No one burst out laughing. The folks sharpening their knives refrained from hissing. I'd say the crowd leaned heavily towards the Needham corridor business community and was very supportive; there were also citizens from the abutting neighborhoods and a few like me from farther afield. Some very supportive, some clearly sharpening knives. Water is still wet, news at 11:00.

And on that rail trail: yeah, the idea of Green Line extension thru there looks like it'll have zero support from the City after this much water has flowed.
West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 03:05 PM   #11
F-Line to Dudley
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 4,417
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
Cue F-Line telling you how the travel time differential between Route 128 and Riverside from Newton Highlands is going to screw up D-Line scheduling and equipment assignments...
Nah. That one's a gimme. They've only been planning that branch since 1945. Fix the garbage-in/garbage-out situation with the other 3 branches having zero signal priority going into their portals and the D's plenty under-capacity to absorb add'l frequencies equal-to-slightly less than another E. The whole branch was set up from Day 1 in '59 with the eventuality that Needham was going to be the imminent Phase II.


Besides, Needham CR service is going to get butchered to way less than today when Amtrak superduper HSR service levels come to town. NEC FUTURE's hilariously destructive kajillion-dollar proposal to blow up the entirety of the SW Corridor for a ROW widening is dead before arrival, so the feds will be the ones paying Captain Obvious the 60/40 cost split for expunging Needham CR to Orange and Green halves. We don't even have to play the usual "La-la-la! I can't hear you!" games with the state for another 25 years on this one when it's 1 Union Station, Washington, D.C. that's going to determine that rapid transit is path of least resistance for all.
F-Line to Dudley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 03:12 PM   #12
tobyjug
Senior Member
 
tobyjug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: downtown
Posts: 3,158
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Is this going to affect "You Do It Electronics"? If so, I am against it!!!!
tobyjug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 03:22 PM   #13
whighlander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lexington
Posts: 6,519
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobyjug View Post
Is this going to affect "You Do It Electronics"? If so, I am against it!!!!
Tobyjug -- I had that same Heart Palpitation when I heard the names of some of the streets

But -- Youdoit is safely in Needham on Franklin St. and even its access is protected from disruption as long as you come from the Rt-128 Exit end of Needham St. aka Highland Ave
https://goo.gl/maps/uJbe2CUh7dJ2
whighlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 03:57 PM   #14
tobyjug
Senior Member
 
tobyjug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: downtown
Posts: 3,158
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Thank heavens for that. Need my pots, tubes, wires and capacitors!
tobyjug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 04:08 PM   #15
Equilibria
Senior Member
 
Equilibria's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,005
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by West View Post
So the traffic will be a mess. It's always been a mess. Will it be a neighborhood killing mess with all this built? I dunno. As someone who lives in Newton and not so far from here, the traffic isn't my main concern; I can avoid it by timing my visits, or bike walk there some of time in nice weather. I've got bigger reasons to weigh in than the traffic. Such as: 900 new units in Newton? Holy crap is that ever tantalizing.
I love the density too, but I just can't see how this works. What they've done here is basically propose building a full CambridgePark Drive that has no access to Route 128 and Route 9 other than Needham St, already the most congested road in Newton. This site has no transit access and no prospect for transit access, it's served only by 2-lane roads and Needham St. is being dieted to some extent as part of the redux (although I think they're upping to 4 lanes on the bridge). This isn't Riverside with its Green Line and near-direct access to 2 interstates - where are all these cars going to go?
Equilibria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 06:44 PM   #16
West
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 736
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibria View Post
I love the density too, but I just can't see how this works. What they've done here is basically propose building a full CambridgePark Drive that has no access to Route 128 and Route 9 other than Needham St, already the most congested road in Newton. This site has no transit access and no prospect for transit access, it's served only by 2-lane roads and Needham St. is being dieted to some extent as part of the redux (although I think they're upping to 4 lanes on the bridge). This isn't Riverside with its Green Line and near-direct access to 2 interstates - where are all these cars going to go?
I agree that it's a hell of a challenge, but think you're exaggerating somewhat.

1) I haven't seen a breakdown of what percentage of shoppers / worker in this district are Newton / Needham locals versus from farther afield. But us locals know that there are other ways in and out: Oak Street and Christina do take some of the burden off Needham Street. With improvements at various periphery intersections and to Needham, there could be some alleviations.

2) Improved pedestrian access probably will knock off some of the driving, I know plenty of people who express constant amazement and frustration at what a pain in the ass it is to get there by foot compared with what it could be. I don't think this is a big factor, in fact I think they're over-selling it, but it's not a non-factor.

3) It's not as transit unaccessed as you're making it sound, though it is seriously challenged. The walking distance to Newton Highlands is not that bad and the distance to Eliot wouldn't be that bad with better punch-throughs for pedestrians, like they;re planning. The problem is that the walk just absolutely sucks. But I know there are residents from Avalon who do it every day and I know there are retail employees in those Needham Street shops who do it every day. If that entire corridor's sidewalk streets cape were improved, the percentage of residents and workers who walked to the green line would increase.

4) this area already screams out for some small hyper-local bus loop, and the proposed Northland development will only add to the critical mass. One could be the short loop: from Highlands: Walnut, Centre/Winchester, Needham, Oak, Elliot, Woodward, Lincoln, back to Highlands. Banging right turns all the way, and serves the Upper Falls neighborhood. Another longer loop could run express down Needham across the bridge to serve the Needham side (I think there may be some private shuttle doing this one already, I'm not sure). Eliot station is so awkwardly located, I don't know how you feed that with bus routes.

5) I know these big developers prefer national chains with regional draw a la Marshalls etc, but many of those aren't doing so well anyways, and their proposed development doesn't look to me created with that in mind. If they do create a decent improvement to the retail streetscape, and include a good mix of small-scale locally oriented cafes and restaurants, a decent percentage of the clientele will come from those 900 new households living there, plus the several hundred a short walk away at Avalon, plus the thousands more a moderately short walk away in Upper Falls. Upper Falls is an incredibly cozy and walkable neighborhood, and the people I know who live there do in fact walk - it isn't just walkable, it gets walked. They're all frustrated by the relative dearth of a local village center (very odd scattering of retail up there) and also by what a pain it is to get into the Needham Street retail area without being in a car, and how it sucks to be here in a car, too. There's a market there.

Having said all that .... yeah, the traffic will be a very severe challenge, I do not deny that. I'm not quite as pessimistic as you are.
West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 09:19 PM   #17
DBM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 568
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobyjug View Post
Thank heavens for that. Need my pots, tubes, wires and capacitors!
Although it doesn't appear to be in the direct firing line in terms of demolition, if this project leads to gentrification such that nearby Mighty Subs (motto: "our small is their large") becomes collateral damage, I'll be ripshit. That place--right on the 128 interchange at Needham St., for the uninitiated--is a mecca.
DBM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2016, 11:13 PM   #18
CSTH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,578
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

That 'mobility hub' looks a hell of a lot like a multi-level parking estate.

Also hell yeah mighty subs
CSTH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2016, 07:22 AM   #19
Equilibria
Senior Member
 
Equilibria's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,005
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by West View Post
I agree that it's a hell of a challenge, but think you're exaggerating somewhat.
All fair points. We'll see. I want this to work.
Equilibria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2016, 08:47 AM   #20
West
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 736
Re: Needham Street Redevelopment | Newton

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Nah. That one's a gimme.
Iíd like to probe on this ďgimmeĒ a little bit. Iím cutting/pasting your quote in slightly different order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
They've only been planning that branch since 1945. The whole branch was set up from Day 1 in '59 with the eventuality that Needham was going to be the imminent Phase II.
I take your word for it that planners saw this spur off D to Needham as imminent back then, but this is getting to be a long time since it was in anyoneís forebrain outside the rail planning community. Iím not saying this to split hairs, but rather to say that I think very nearly no one in Newton is aware of this spur going over to Green Line as a way to handle part of the someday-to-be-lost Needham CR service. When I mention it in conversation, folks look at me like Iíve grown a second head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Fix the garbage-in/garbage-out situation with the other 3 branches having zero signal priority going into their portals and the D's plenty under-capacity to absorb add'l frequencies equal-to-slightly less than another E.
As a D line daily commuter, this part I completely believe, even if the technical details are beyond me Ė so I am not casting doubt on the ability of Green Line to handle it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Besides, Needham CR service is going to get butchered to way less than today when Amtrak superduper HSR service levels come to town. NEC FUTURE's hilariously destructive kajillion-dollar proposal to blow up the entirety of the SW Corridor for a ROW widening is dead before arrival, so the feds will be the ones paying Captain Obvious the 60/40 cost split for expunging Needham CR to Orange and Green halves.
Iíve noted your numerous previous posts on the Needham Line issue and completely buy in that it will inevitably happen. I also can see how shifting part to Orange is a relatively easy thing as transit shifts go (I did say relatively easy, not easy). So I am bought in that the feds will play Captain Obvious and push over the first domino by kicking Needham off CR. But while the Orange shift looks straightforward, is the shift of the other part to the UF Green Line spur really a gimme?

I was supportive of the Greenway plan when it was going through, but it had so much support in Newton, I didnít feel the need to get seriously involved: plenty of others were getting it through. So I am completely ignorant of some key points. First, MassDOT still owns the ROW, right? If so, is there any specific legal process MassDOT must follow to convert it from greenway back to rail? Or is this a matter of pure politics?

Iíd be OK with it converting to rail again, and I might even use it to go bowling now and then, and for sundry other reasons. But I donít think thatís even remotely the majority opinion in Newton. And Iím guessing thereís at least another ten more years before Captain Obvious / Uncle Sam pushes over that first domino on Needham CR (boy, do I hope thatís too pessimistic). And this Northland proposal is very much oriented towards that being a pedestrian corridor, not only along the direction of the ROW, but crossing it, too, and the City seems bought into that aspect of the proposal. The local politics for converting this back to rail look incredibly unfavorable on the Newton side

(I've got no read on the Needham side - I'm sure they'll still want rail service downtown, that's easy to project, but how they'll want to get there? I have no clue).
West is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Needham Industrial Park V2.0 | Needham whighlander Development Projects 1 02-02-2015 05:05 PM
Green Line extension Newton to Needham choo Transit and Infrastructure 12 10-10-2012 10:07 AM
Portland - Franklin Street redesign and redevelopment cneal Greater New England 26 09-24-2011 08:44 PM
Proposed redevelopment of 319 A Street Rear JohnAKeith Boston Architecture/Urbanism Related Events 0 11-09-2009 05:13 PM
Needham plans denser, livelier downtown czsz Development Projects 9 06-22-2007 10:51 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.