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Facts and Plans

A Brief History

The LFIA Riverside Committee continues the work of many dedicated Newton Lower Falls and Auburndale residents who began meeting in 2006, when the Riverside MBTA station site – which had opened in 1959 – came under consideration for development. In 2009, the MBTA authorized an 85-year lease with developer BH Normandy LLC. In 2013, after considerable input from the surrounding communities, and various revisions to the plan, the City of Newton granted a special permit to build a mixed-used development that consisted of:

o   290 apartments, 15% affordable, with 438 parking spaces.

o   225,000 feet of office space with 571 parking spaces.

o   20,000 feet of retail space and 11,000 feet of community space.

o   1,000-car MBTA parking garage.

The project stalled over a stalemate between BH Normandy and the MBTA about who would pay for the parking garage. Nothing much happened publicly for a few years until the fall of 2018, when Mark Development unveiled its proposal to build a mixed-use complex more than double the size of the Normandy plan.


Mark Development Plans 2019

Click here to view the plans Mark Development filed for Riverside in March 2019.


RightSize Riverside Fact Sheet

This fact sheet summarizes the differences between the Riverside development approved by special permit in 2013 and the current design described in Mark Development’s earlier filing on January 9, 2019. Click DOWNLOAD to print a copy.

Riverside Development Fact Sheet


Prepared by LFIA Riverside Committee

January 31, 2019

 

      Mark Development Proposal compared to 2013 special permit approved for B.H. Normandy plan


Feature

Current Mark Development Proposal 1

2013 Special Permit 3

Office space

611,416 sq. ft.

225,000 sq. ft.

Residential space

675 units = 703,790 sq. ft. (15% affordable)

290 units (15% affordable)

Rebuilt Hotel Indigo

103,954 sq. ft.

Not included

Retail space

64,611 sq. ft.

20,000 sq. ft.

Community Center

none

11,000 sq. ft.

Building height

18 and 14 stories (2 tallest in Newton @ 217.5’ & 226.1’)

10 stories (120’)

Total Square Footage

1,519,330 (excludes parking structures)

580,000 sq. ft. 4

Open Space

122,403.6 sq. ft. (20%)

174,000 sq. ft. (43%)

Beneficial Open Space

81,021.6 sq. ft. (12.9%) 2

71,400 sq. ft. (17.5%)

Parking spaces

2,832 (shared) (1000 reserved for MBTA)

2,050 (shared)

1  Based on Zoning Review Application submitted by Mark Development on Jan. 9, 2019.

2   Mark Development’s figures based on its interpretation of “Beneficial Open Space” in the Zoning Ordinance

3  BH Normandy plan, approved with considerable community input.

4  The Mark Development proposal incorporates a new hotel to replace the existing Hotel Indigo (not a component of the 2013 approved plan.) Adding the square footage of Hotel Indigo to the approved 2013 plan = 756,027sq. ft.

CONCERNS

Size & Scale

  • 675 apartment units compares to 500 housing units in all of Newton Lower Falls.
  • Tall buildings (226 ft.) abutting I-95 will overwhelm the neighborhood with their bulk and reflected traffic sound (currently 80db on Deforest Rd).
  • This massive new urban village will be privately owned and operated and will alter the social and political fabric of Lower Falls and Auburndale.
  • The plan lacks adequate open and community space.
  • Riverside is not an “isolated” parcel of land—transforming it affects all of us.

Transportation/Congestion

  • 10,000 (estimated) additional vehicle trips per day will result in increased congestion throughout Newton Lower Falls and Auburndale, where many intersections are already problematic.
  • Promised direct highway access from I-95N is only in one direction (25%). All other (75%) traffic will use Grove and other local streets.
  • Increased use of I-95N will add to rush-hour back-ups
  • Green Line is already overcrowded and slow, a 40-minute ride from Riverside to Government Center.

School Capacity

  • Families with children, attracted to Newton’s good schools, will also rent—not just seniors, singles, and couples, as projected
  • Developer’s estimate of 100 additional public school students does not correlate with numbers from other recent developments in Newton (see chart below); using those numbers an estimate of 187 to 217 new students is reasonable.
  • The impact of accommodating and transporting students will reduce the developer’s estimate of Newton’s net revenue.

 

Residential Complex

Residential Sq. Footage

# Units

# Students in 2018

Students per 1,000 sf

Avalon-Newton Highland

406,926

294

108

.265

Avalon-Chestnut Hill

270,941

204

80

.295

Woodland-Arbor Point

164,969

180

51

.309

Riverside-Mark Development (est.)

703,790

675

187-217

.265 - .309

Approval Process

          •  The 2013 special permit took 4+ years. Mark Development is seeking a 1-year process

 

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RightSize Riverside  - LFIA
91 Cornell St.                           

Newton Lower Falls, MA 02462

lfiariverside@gmail.com 

The Newton Lower Falls Improvement Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


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