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Old 01-16-2010, 12:32 PM   #1
crash575
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Belmont: Cushing Village

Here's one from the 'burbs. There is a proposed retail and commercial development in Belmont's Chushing Square. It was originally proposed in 2008. The development company has issued some revised massing diagrams/renderings. I like the prospects of something so "urban" being built in Belmont but I'm sure the proposal will die.

Here is a map of the sites. It involves the property owner acquiring a town parking lot adjacent to the primary parcel with a second parcel across Horne Rd.
Quote:
Cushing Village developers detail new proposal
By Christian Schiavone/cschiavo@cnc.com
Belmont Citizen-Herald
Fri Jan 15, 2010, 09:08 AM EST

Belmont, Mass. - Planning officials and anxious neighbors got their first look at an updated proposal for a large, mixed-use development in Cushing Square this week, while the development team tried to distance the plan from past incarnations.

New rendering:


Older rendering:


Part of the site now (the rest is a free standing Starbucks, the municipal parking lot and a closed CVS):


Older articles from Belmont's Citizen-Herald:
150-unit ?monolith? might rise above Cushing Square

Informal review of Cushing Village won?t reveal specifics

Smith: Cushing Village needs a designer
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:42 PM   #2
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

The older rendering looks better to me.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

I agree -- the standard brick block is so tired.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:52 PM   #4
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

I also like the older one better. I think it's more reminiscent of the current building w/ the triangular roof lines (I'm sure they have a technical name).
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:19 PM   #5
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Being a former resident of both Belmont and Watertown, I was always fond of Cushing Sq the way it is. Belmont seriously needs to do something about the horid pot-hole streets first though.
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:57 PM   #6
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Type001 as a former resident you must know Belmont's unwillingness to repave roads. It also hasn't help that they never removed the trolley tracks back in the 60's (Watertown did) before repaving. There have been plans to completely redesign Belmont Street and Tropelo Road for nearly a decade but no real progress has been made.
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:59 PM   #7
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Agree that the old design was better. Probably nixed for being too expensive.

Is the current structure slated to be torn down?
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:32 PM   #8
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Is there some reason to tear down what looks like a perfectly fine corner building?
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:05 PM   #9
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

I know nothing of Belmont square, but from what i see, this looks like a good infill project. I agree about the original design, but the new one isn't half bad (until it goes up and we see the matterial that is.)

How are they addressing parking?
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Underground parking. The site does have great T access being on the 73 route.
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:17 PM   #11
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Cushing Square developers threaten to sue town of Belmont
By Patrick Ball/pball@cnc.com
Belmont Citizen-Herald
Oct 26, 2010

Belmont, Mass. ?

The developers behind the proposed Cushing Village project aren?t giving up without a fight ? even if it means the battlegrounds are a courtroom.

A week after the Board of Selectmen announced publicly that they had broken off negotiations to sell the municipal lot on Trapelo Road to Smith Legacy Partners (SLP) and Oaktree Development ? the team that makes up Cushing Village LLC ? the developers have fired back in the form of a demand letter and notice of intent to sue the town of Belmont, alleging bad faith actions during the purchase negotiations.

?The BOS?s campaign of unreasonable demands and unwillingness to negotiate fairly is a calculated attempt to destroy the proposed Cushing Village development and thereby cause significant damages to SLP as the potential purchaser and Cushing Village LLC as the developer,? wrote Robert A. Fasanella, an attorney with Rubin and Rudman, the Boston firm representing Cushing Village.

According to the notice, which alleges the selectmen breached an implied contract and covenant of good faith by imposing demands beyond terms agreed to at Town Meeting and in a Request for Proposals RFP, the developers intend to file a civil action seeking $10 to $15 million in compensation for its losses, punitive damages, injunctive relieve and attorney fees. The action will be filed on Nov. 8 ? Town Meeting day ? unless a settlement to regarding the purchase of the property is reached before then.

?We?d much rather the ability to build this project under reasonable requirements, under terms we agreed to in the RFP we bid on,? said Chris Starr, managing partner with SLC and Cushing Village. ?We?d like it if we could get back to that rather than pursue what we think is a distasteful lawsuit. We?re holding our noses, but proceeding with it so we can do this development that we think would add so much to the town.?

Starr and his partners say the Cushing Village project would bring the town much needed revenue and it?s dead without the municipal lot and the ability to close Horne Road.

The selectmen took off both the table after the two sides reached an impasse about liquidated damages (the selectmen sought $4 million and the developers counter offers never topped $1 million) and the developers had not provided satisfactory evidence of their ability to finance the project.

?There is a timeliness to this, because we know that the town is considering its budget situation,? said Gwendolen Noyes of Oaktree Development, adding that revenue from the $75 million project would provide a boost as the town figures out how to pay for key services, like education.

Town responds

The Board of Selectmen received the demand letter and notice on Monday, Oct. 25. A day later, Ralph Jones, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, issued a public statement charging that ?SLP and CV have commenced a massive and well-financed public relations and legal campaign in an attempt to discredit the Board of Selectmen of Belmont.?

Jones wrote that the selectmen, who he described as ?part-time employees,? will issue a full-response as soon as possible to the demand letter and a public records request issued by Rubin and Rudman, the law firm that also handles legal matters involving the Belmont Municipal Light Board, which is involved in regulating.

In the statement, Jones says since the planned suit would be against the selectmen in their official and individual capacities, the notice of intent ?clearly is an attempt to intimidate and bully the selectmen,? but that he still intends to search for solutions that demonstrate willingness to work with developers in the best interests of the town.

?I?m planning to go back to the board on [Nov. 1] with a suggestion, but I don?t know how that suggestion will be received and I haven?t yet formulated all of the details on it,? Jones said Oct. 26 in a follow-up interview.

Jones said under the right circumstances he would be open to resuming talks with the Cushing Village developers, potentially engaging a third party to ensure that the two sides get past arguing about differences to work toward a solution beneficial to the town.

Asked if the conversation with his fellow selectmen would happen in public or executive session, Jones said he would have to review the rules.

?I?m hoping it will come up in open session,? he said. ?I think that would be appropriate, but I need to find out all the rules from Jeff [Conti, Belmont?s assistant town administrator] and from counsel.?

Firenze targeted

In addition to alleging a breach of implied contract and covenant of good faith, the notice asserts that Selectman Angelo Firenze in December 2009 ?implied at a public meeting that the BOS should not sell the property to SLP but instead sell it to another developer that was interested in the property but failed to submit a bid in accordance with the RFP.?

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Firenze said the letter misrepresents his stance on the matter.

?I said there was no obligation for the town to sell it to the developer,? he said.

Firenze said the implication was that the two sides had been negotiating for more than 18 months from when the award was originally made, and in the meantime, another local developer, Bill Dillon, had approached him to ask what was going on with the property, prompting him to ask whether there was an obligation to sell.

?That?s what I mentioned, that if they weren?t interested in doing something with the property, then maybe we should think about what we ought to do with it,? Firenze said. ?There was no secret deal; there?s no agreement. There are people interested in that piece of property, and we have an obligation to do what?s best for the town.?

Firenze said at the time, he sat down with an architect and looked at pencil sketches of Dillon?s plans to develop the municipal lot. Since the public announcement that negations between the town and the developers had stalled, he has heard from another developer interested in the property.

?Ralph and Mark [Paolillo] don?t like dealing with developers, but I don?t see a problem with it,? Firenze said. ?I do it all the time. If they want to talk to me about it and get my input, I?ll give it to them, but that doesn?t mean I favor one project or another ? I?m trying to do what?s in the best interest of the town.?


Negotations between Belmont, Cushing Square developers to restart
By Patrick Ball/pball@cnc.com
GateHouse News Service
Nov 02, 2010
Belmont, Mass. ?

Preliminary talks between the town and Cushing Village developers will resume, possibly as early as this evening, Ralph Jones, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said on Nov. 2.

In an executive session on Nov. 1, the selectmen authorized Jones to begin renegotiations with developers Smith Legacy Partners and Oaktree Development for the sale of the municipal parking lot in Cushing Square. A meeting to discuss preconditions ? namely a public records request and potential lawsuit ? is anticipated for tonight, Nov. 2, Jones said.

?We need to get those things stopped so we don?t have to spend all of our time responding to a lawsuit and records request,? Jones said. ?We?ll see where it goes. I?m trying to lay out a roadmap to try to get people moving.

Jones said he was hopeful this would move the process forward.

?What I?m hopeful is that we can get the Board of Selectmen work done so the process can get over to the Planning Board, where the real work will have to begin, because they?re the ones that will have to make sure the building is acceptable to all parties.?

Jones said at the Planning Board level is where any collaboration among the developers, town boards and residents would happen with regard to the size and design of the proposed $78 million development.

Collaboration with the developers was a topic brought up early in the selectmen?s meeting on Nov. 1, well before the executive session took place, which authorized Jones to resume talks with the developers.

Precinct 5 Town Meeting member Don Becker, who said he was speaking on behalf of other Cushing Square neighbors, publicly announced his support for the selectmen?s decision to break off negotiations with the developers for sale of the municipal lot in Cushing Square, a piece of property the developers say is vital to the project.

?The Board of Selectmen, we believe, acted prudently to represent the best interests of the town,? Becker said, adding his group believes the developers? refusal to agree to a $4 million liquidation cost validates concerns about financing for the project. ?This is an opportunity, we believe, to develop an appropriately scaled project and to move forward collaboratively. We would like to move forward in this manner to achieve a project that almost everyone can support. We understand that we?re never going to achieve complete unanimity of what should go in the square, but we believe collaboration is a goal we can attain.?

The climate around Cushing Village became a bit acrimonious in recent weeks, as the selectmen pulled the municipal lot off the table and the developers fired back with a public records request and notice of intent to sue for damages.

However, even as they submitted their demand letter and notice of intent, the developers maintained their preferred outcome would not be a legal battle, but rather to reopen negotiations and move the project forward as planned.

?We?d much rather the ability to build this project under reasonable requirements, under terms we agreed to in the RFP we bid on,? Chris Starr, managing partner with SLC and Cushing Village, said last week. ?We?d like it if we could get back to that rather than pursue what we think is a distasteful lawsuit. We?re holding our noses, but proceeding with it so we can do this development that we think would add so much to the town.?
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Older design...Standard Brick might've worked back in Post-War America, but not now.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:58 PM   #13
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Quote:

Belmont selectmen sign Cushing Square deal

By Sarah Thomas, Town Correspondent

Six months after an impasse that saw developers threatening the Belmont board of selectmen with lawsuits, the selectmen signed a purchase and sale agreement for a parking lot that is a key component of a planned development in Cushing Square.

"We achieved a major milestone in making this project a reality," said Chris Starr, co-manager of the Cushing Village LLC, who is developing the property. "We're thrilled with the outcome."

As a result of the agreement, plans for the 30,000 square foot mixed-use development can move on to the town's planning board. Developers say they will be conducting evaluations of the site for the next sixty days, as well as working on a permit application to submit to the board.

"Obviously, this is a welcome development," said Arthur Klipfel, the project's other manager. "We will be conducting our due diligence and moving forward."

The agreement took a rocky path. Negotiations between the developers and the board of selectmen broke down in October when the developers threatened the selectmen with legal action over the terms of their originally proposed agreement.

"The board of selectmen's campaign of unreasonable demands and unwillingness to negotiate fairly is a calculated attempt to destroy the proposed Cushing Village development," the letter read.

The original terms of the settlement saw the selectmen requiring $4 million in liquidated damages, or the amount developers would have to pay if the project was complete, and a 7-year completion window. The final agreement, which can be viewed on the town's website, contains $800,000 in liquidated damages and a 3-year window.

"We took a step back and asked ourselves, 'what do we want?' We wanted the project done, we want it done right, we wanted adequate financing, and we wanted it completed as quickly as possible," Jones said. "We had gotten into a cycle where we kept ratcheting up our damages and they kept ratcheting up the amount of time it'd take, and we broke that cycle."

The total purchase price for the quarter-acre parking lot is $850,000. Meetings on the purchase of the lot were attended by many abutters of the proposed development, including Don Becker, who lives on Horne Road. Becker said he intends to attend meetings between the developers and the planning board.

"My perspective, and I think the perspective of a lot of the abutters, is that we hope the project will be reflective of the neighborhood's character," Becker said. "With an appropriate mass, scale, and size, this project could revitalize the area."

Starr pledged to work with abutters during the permitting process.

"We fully anticipate incorporating the ideas of abutters," Starr said.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.
http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/...n_cushing.html
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:07 PM   #14
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

This is starting to take shape quite fast now--the framing has risen to form the basic structure of much of the project. Given how the project site is embedded within Cushing Square's street grid & overall topography, this looks to become quite the focal point.

Project website says 115 residential units. Not too shabby. The 73 bus has excellent frequencies here so I think it's reasonable to tout this as TOD to a certain extent.

Finishing in a few months per the project website.

I'll try to remember to take some pictures the next time I'm lolling about there this summer...

P.S. Can a moderator please retitle this thread per the usual stylistic conventions?
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:16 PM   #15
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Re: Belmont: Cushing Village

Basically it took eight years to get this project approaching the finished product (which includes 115 rental units) in Belmont. And we wonder why there is a housing crisis in Metro Boston. These towns can be almost intractable when it comes to adding more multifamily housing even when it's luxury housing.
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