90 Washington Street Redevelopment

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Next Steps

Thank you to the 100+ community members who joined the virtual kickoff to envision a new 90 Washington Street. Attendees provided input on the Public Safety Building (PSB) project and shared ideas about the opportunities on the Washington Street Redevelopment Parcels (WSRP). Based on the feedback heard in December, we've decided on the following next steps.

1. An internal design workshop to try and incorporate the feedback heard in December into the PSB project.

2. February 2nd at 6:00 - PSB Building Committee Meeting. The goal for this meeting is to present the PSB program, floor plans, and


Next Steps

Thank you to the 100+ community members who joined the virtual kickoff to envision a new 90 Washington Street. Attendees provided input on the Public Safety Building (PSB) project and shared ideas about the opportunities on the Washington Street Redevelopment Parcels (WSRP). Based on the feedback heard in December, we've decided on the following next steps.

1. An internal design workshop to try and incorporate the feedback heard in December into the PSB project.

2. February 2nd at 6:00 - PSB Building Committee Meeting. The goal for this meeting is to present the PSB program, floor plans, and design drivers in greater detail than what was possible at the December meeting. Attendees will be able to ask questions and provide comment. Register here.

3. February 16th at 6:00 - Community Meeting. The goal for this meeting is to show visual representation on how the feedback on 'uses' and 'considerations for development' from the December meeting could be implemented on the site.

Project Information

The Capital Projects and Economic Development divisions are working together to implement a community vision for 90 Washington Street. Capital Projects is managing the development of the new Public Safety Building. Economic Development is overseeing the development of the community vision on the remainder of the site.

Project Site

The 90 Washington Street site is a 4 acre site a stones throw from the East Somerville GLX station. Based on good urban design principles and PSB project requirements, the site has been subdivided into four areas: the new realignment of New Washington Street, the Washington Street Redevelopment Parcels (Parcels A & C), and the PSB project site.

Project Timeline

Capital Project and Economic Development are working closely to implement the community vision for this site. The PSB project is expected to be completed in 2023. The visioning process for the remainder of the project site started in December '21 and will continue through the first part of 2022. After documentation of the shared vision, Economic Development will quickly pivot to implementation.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

City Staff monitored and replied to questions through December 17th. While no new questions are being accepted at this time, the previous questions and answers can be seen below. You may continue to provide thoughts and comments through the other tools on this page.

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    Why are we not putting the police and fire station at Assembly Row in the old Circuit City building and using 90 Washington for something more useful, like affordable housing? Why would we put an enormous parking garage next to a transit station, rather than putting it somewhere with ample parking (Circuit City) and putting low- or no-parking housing near the transit?

    Gordon asked about 1 month ago

    The community meeting allowed people to discuss ideas for the 90 Washington Street site. It was taken via a demonstration project which allows the City to site a public safety building here and other community needs. It sounds like you want affordable housing and I believe many stated similar desires last Monday. 

    The City did not consider land in Assembly Square for the PSB because land costs in Assembly are the highest in Somerville. The Circuit City is a vacant site but public safety couldn't simply move in like your question implies. The Assembly Square Neighborhood Plan does not envision a continuation of the surface parking in Assembly Square either. However, your critique of the parking supply as currently shown is under review.

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    1. Why wasn't the Circuit City site considered for this development. 2. Why would you put municipal buildings next to the train. We need small businesses and housing next to the train, not vehicle-oriented services. 3. Does the cost analysis for each site you considered account for the loss in tax revenue over the next few decades that not building commercial and residential programming? Our taxes are going straight up. The cost of this is NOT just the cost of the building and land, it is the opportunity cost over decades of mis-allocating extremely valuable and taxable property to non-income-generating services.

    smz asked about 1 month ago

    To answer your questions. 1. Land in Assembly Square was not considered for the public safety building because land prices are the highest there than anywhere else in the city. 2. When the GLX opens, there will be numerous city buildings within walking distance of stations. In fact 85% of Somerville will be within walking distance of a train station. This gives employees options that they may not have now, take the train to work. Your point is heard about vehicle storage on the site and was echoed by many at the community meeting. 3. The site analysis did not include the loss of tax revenue. Our municipal buildings provide space for employees that provide necessary services to constituents, it's a disserve to pit that against lost tax revenue. Part of the community meeting was discussing potential uses on the site - this site was taken using a demonstration project plan which means that it can also fill other community needs. As presented roughly 2 acres of the site could become taxable development depending on the outcome of the community process. Lastly, the current PSB site at 220 Washington Street is part of the Union Square Redevelopment Plan. It's on a site named D1 and is slated to be redeveloped into commercial development. A new building for public safety allows that site to become taxable development.  

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    Clarifying my previous question - how will you actually incentivize not driving when there will be parking available to employees, and employees could use residential parking permits should there not be a space. As for illegal parking - city is unlikely to ticket their own vehicles or own employees.

    joan asked about 1 month ago

    There's an 80 vehicle fleet associated with the building. The garage has 100 spaces so, with a shared parking model, some employees would be able to park in the garage. We did hear feedback in the community meeting about the quantity of parking and are looking into options. 

    Please see the previous response regarding residential parking permits. 

    I can speak from personal experience that parking enforcement does ticket employee vehicles. The City expects anyone whether in personal or fleet/work vehicles to follow the posted parking requirements. 

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    How will employees be encouraged to take public transit instead of parking using residential parking stickers or parking illegally?

    joan asked about 1 month ago

    I'll take the latter half of the questions first. City employees that also live in the City may choose to purchase residential permits. Those permits can be used as permitted. You may be interested in Mobility's Citywide Parking and Curb Use Study. Illegal parking is addressed by ticketing.   

    To shift behavior, in this case, from driving to other modes of transit, the City needs to engage building occupants on transportation demand management strategies or TDM for short. TDM programs have 'carrots' and 'sticks' to incentivize behavior. The building will have bike parking, showers, and is within a 1/4 mile of the East Somerville GLX station. The City is piloting a free blue bikes program for employees this year and also has a pre-tax benefit for MBTA passes. Other options are being explored.  

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    where can we access the presentation from the 13th? what is parcel A and C?

    CSM123 asked about 1 month ago

    Here's the direct link. In general, project documents are 'archived' on the right hand side of your screen (if you're using a desktop). 

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    I was not at the 13-Dec-2021 meeting, so apologies if this was covered there, but what kind of outreach has been performed with the existing community around 90 Washington St?

    drdupont asked about 1 month ago

    This was our first public meeting for the 90 Washington Street site. To advertise the meeting we used the following advertising channels:

    • Project email list (subscribe here)
    • City calendar and project website
    • City communication channels (subscribe here)
    • Local organizations like East Somerville Main Streets
    • Various social media channels on facebook, twitter, and instagram
    • Various Somerville commissions and committees that likely have interest in the project
    • Publicizing via the Public Safety Building Committee
    • Flyering local homes and businesses in East Somerville and, roughly speaking, south of Pearl and east of Cross Street in East Somerville. This is in addition to Cobble Hill Apartments. 
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    I was at the meeting yesterday, but I also wanted to submit my thoughts below in written form. My name is Matthew Kennedy. I’m a ward 5 resident. I live on Hudson Street, and I’m very active in Defund SPD. I’m here because I object to using the building for policing. Somerville promised a year and a half ago to “reimagine” policing, but has been extremely disappointing in the time since then. What has happened since then is horrific instances of the criminalization of children, the additional hiring of several new police officers, and a refusal to listen to residents of color such as myself who have demanded a reduction in the amount of resources devoted to policing. Instead, pro-police elected officials have selectively talked to more conservative and pro-police residents of color. They’ve used the voices of these people who they already agree with to launder their own opinions. It’s a racist tactic that allows our city to harm people of color all while claiming it’s something we asked them to do. My organization Defund SPD has done a massive amount of work since the summer of 2020. It’s led by people of color. We’ve mobilized thousands of residents to amplify our demands, but because we’re actually asking for substantive change, the city claims that we’re all white which they know isn’t true. Councilor Matt McGlaughlin is here tonight. I’m glad he’s here because he’s one of the people I have in mind. He’s pro-police. His brother is a cop. He’s not allowed to vote on matters relating to police, but he has absolutely used this racist tactic in the past year and a half. He’s repeatedly framed Defund SPD as a white organization, and belittled our demands based on that false assumption. The majority of our current and incoming city administration has not offered any solutions to the issues caused by policing that haven’t been already tried and proven ineffective. We do not need more diverse police. We do not need “community police”. We need to spend less money on policing and more money on things the community actually needs like social housing. I have multiple friends who have had to move out of the city because they couldn’t afford to stay here. Earlier this year there was an unhoused man who died because he didn’t have a warm place to sleep. There was a shooting that happened this summer because the roommates were arguing over rent money. We should be prioritizing bike safety, public transit, drug addiction, health care, and food insecurity. These are the biggest issues facing Somerville. Every dollar we spend on policing is a dollar we don’t spend on something else we need more.

    mkennedymsm asked about 1 month ago

    Hi Matthew, there's not much of a question here but I'll try to provide a little bit of information. This is covered in the FAQ's but the current public safety building in Union Square is obsolete and needs to be replaced. Furthermore, the property is part of the Union Square Redevelopment plan which, when implemented, will deliver things like more affordable housing to Somerville. 

    We are working to build a new building to relocate the SPD (and other departments). While I understand your opposition to this, we do understand that there's a broader discussion about the future of policing. Because of this, we are working closely with the design team to build a modern office building that can be flexible and adjust to shifts in policing.  

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    Why am I the first and only person to answer this poll after looking for it for an inordinate amount of time? I hope it was not deliberately inactivated. (Dec. 14, 9:50am)

    dnltnr asked about 1 month ago

    Hi! We're engaging people online here through the end of the week, 12/17. We'll be pushing it out on social media channels too but feel free to share!

Page last updated: 14 January 2022, 14:11