Facts and Plans
Mark Development's 2020 RS Plans
Mark Development filed a revised special permit application in December 2019 for a mixed-use project to fit within the 1.025 million square feet compromise zone that the Newton City Council approved in November. You can see the special permit documents here.
Much more work remains! The Council's Land Use Committee will now consider this special permit application. We expect those hearings to begin in January 2020. This is an important opportunity for community members to raise issues concerning traffic, design, open space, fiscal and school impact, environmental issues, and so on.
Here's a look at the expected special permit process.
Curious how this project has evolved? You cam review the developer's older Riverside plans on the City's website here. You may also watch a "fly through" video of Mark Development's March 2019 proposal to get a sense of what the project might feel like from the ground.
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 paying 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.
Since then, the LFIA Riverside Committee has been working on behalf of neighbors to advocate for an appropriately sized project that minimizes traffic and other negative impacts, provides access to affordable housing, preserves and creates open space, welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds, and benefits Lower Falls, Auburndale, and the City of Newton.
Our Alternate Zoning Petition!
As an alternative to Mark Development's petition for zoning changes, the Riverside Committee submitted a zoning amendment petition that was based on a development with a smaller total square footage (650,000), a residential focus (441 units), and sufficient commercial space to offset city costs and retail to support residents.
Our goal is to create a livable community at Riverside, including a community center and meaningful open space, while preserving the qualities of Grove Street and the abutting communities of Lower Falls and Auburndale.