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November 20, 2005

Comments

Of Course

If it sounds too good to be true, then it is. And if this Administration is involved in it, then it definitely will be a strip mall. Just what we didn't want.

I wonder if this was the reason the Mayor and his two aids traveled to Maryland several weekends ago? It certainly wasn't because of 311 since none of the key employees traveled with them that weekend.

So, Assembly Square Mall is soon to be what it wasn't suppose to be... A strip Mall... Who would have thunk!!!!!

PS… Sorry JN… I posted to the wrong article with my other post. I got to remember to turn the lights on in the Library in the future…

James Norton

I was out to dinner with my wife and my parents when you posted, Of Course. I took the duplicate off, no worries.

And I have no idea who Steve Cockneck is, I just remember some of the lively comments he/she would make along with The Mole and others.

Ok, get back to slinging mud.

JN

Zamore AND Newme sound like two peas in a frigin pod!

Zamore AND Newme sound like two peas in a frigin pod! Just what Somerville needs is another frigin Mother hen squaking like a little bitch! Sorry for swaering JN but Newme and his boyfriend Zamore just piss me off!

Of Course

Sorry JN, I have no clue as to whom Steve Cockneck might be. I am sure one of your followers will be able to update you to the man behind the name...

somervilleguy

Why is it that everything is a conspiracy with Bill Shelton and the Mystic View Gang? Someone has a meeting and suddenly it’s the grassy knoll. Give me a break. Mystic View has always wanted Ikea back away from the water shed area and now they get it and it is still not enough.

The question I’d like an answer to is why is Mystic View running to the press when they finally are allowed to the table to discuss solutions. Is it because Bill, Wig and the rest of the gang prefer the fight and seeing their names in print?

I use to listen to the arguments they presented but I have come to realize that Mystic View has no interest in the outcome; they only see one point of view and crave the argument not a solution.

Wig Zamore

No one from Mystic View broke this story or called the press about it as far as I know. Jean Abelson of the Boston Globe had been talking to Somerville City Hall for days if not weeks, and corresponding with Federal Realty and IKEA as well. The Globe called me late in the afternoon the day before the story ran. I was the last person called. I assume one of the other parties decided to break this story to serve their own interests.

The largest problem with this land swap idea is the additional 400,000 square feet of regional retail it adds to the mix on the Assembly Square waterfront. The large format retail mix already included a very busy Home Depot, IKEA, the big box strip mall and other highway based retailers. Regional retail has very little if any net fiscal benefit for a city this dense. But it will add serious congestion, air pollution and public health impacts to a community which is already overburdened with transportation pollution.

Somerville is the only one of Massachusetts' 351 cities and towns with over 200,000 vehicle miles traveled per day per square mile of land area. The traffic is concentrated on I93, Routes 28 and 38. We are also the only community with 15,000 diesel trains per square mile per year. No other city or town is close. We are also the only community in the state that had 35 excess lung cancer and heart attacks deaths per square mile from 1996 through 2000.

Chelsea was close with 31 excess deaths per square mile over the same period and Chelsea has the second most vehicle miles traveled per square mile of land area in the state. It is addtionally impacted by Logan, the Port and the produce markets which serve the Boston metropolitan area.

These public health outcomes are about what one should expect from these levels of air pollution exposure. Somerville had 36% higher mortality rates than Massachusetts from 1996 through 2000 for these two leading causes of death. Chelsea had 41% higher mortality rates. As US EPA and US OMB calculate the "value of a statistical life", Somerville has had over $100 million a year in premature mortalities over the last 10 years of record and nearly $200 million a year in public health damages in the worst periods.

Regards, Wig Zamore

ALifeOrADollar

Ikea is wrong for Somerville. There is too much traffic already. I was just stuck in traffic in Union Square running errands. It's ridiculous. The best idea is to get some office space, some retail stores and restaurants, and some housing (including some affordable) in there, and create some nice parks too. Somerville would get a lot more tax money, and less traffic, too. East Somerville has always gotten a raw deal. Good for people like Wig to being willing to tough out the personal attacks and all the b.s. to fight for what they believe in.

mysticpuke

Enough is enough! The Mystic View Task Force are a bunch of assholes. If they have such great ideas for the land they should pony up the dough and buy it. Where do they get off thinking they can dictate what someone else can do with their land. Typical PDS, beret wearing frauds. Keep dreaming of your make believe fairy land with rainbows, unicorns and rivers flowing with fruit punch. Give it up!!! This is Somerville. Let's move on and stop costing the taxpayers. Evarts should be ashamed of herself. So should the wannabe Frenchman with the Beret. Hachooo!

Bear

"The best idea is to get some office space, some retail stores and restaurants, and some housing (including some affordable) in there, and create some nice parks too."

Would you like a pony with that?

Yeah? Well, keep waiting.

Sadly the real world economics of an overbuilt office market make it clear nobody is going to be adding yet more empty square footage of office space to Somerville. Same for the all the other inane I-want-a-pony type land use plans: They don't make financial sense.

No little village, no Back-Bay-on-the-Mystic, none of that IS EVER GOING TO HAPPEN. And if it was your money being used you wouldn't be BS'ing that kinda stuff either.

Somerville can keep dithering around dreaming big what-if's while it's budget gets tighter and tighter or you can come back from lala-land and make some hard economic & political decisions. Big box retail are the only folks interested in the land and frankly that is becoming strained. It certainly isn't making any money sitting there empty all of these years.

Ikea would be a great tenant; traditionally hyper-responsible to their host communities, attracts a prime demographic. While it's modern style may offend the townies it would put status cash in the pocket of every landowner selling residential property. And after all this rigamarole the list of other interested stores is gonna be short, and short on quality.

Oh, and all the whining about poor put-on Somerville? The only reason Somerville real-estate is worth more then change is the access to other places those roads & rail bring. Outside that the housing stock is nothing special, the schools a terror, and the local politics such a mess even the locals despair, much less outside investors.

So, Ikea & the economic activity that brings, some other store that is gonna be a worse neighbor, or an empty lot and cancel next year's schoolbook order? Just decide quick, because every other community with land that could shoehorn an Ikea in is doubtless now gunning for 'em with all the publicity, Somerville could soon find the question moot.

Tricky

I find it hard to believe Big Box retailers are the only ones interested in a riverfront site close to Boston, Bear. Assembly Square is closer to Boston City Hall than Fenway Park, and there's no shortage of new construction there.

somerspeak

Bear and Trickey,

Excellent points on both missives. I just got off the phone with an attorney friend and was describing another project in the City. He asked me with a great degree of horror in his voice "This doen't have anything to do with Assembly does it?" Evidence that some folks get real queazy when talking about doing business in Somerville. Then again, prime riverfront property is just like buying on the Cape Cod shore. Everyone wants the water view and many are willing to pay big bucks for it. Even if it means BIG BOX BUCKS.

itseemsodd

It seems odd that Ikea would still be interested in opening up in Somerville.. It is too close to the other location for them. It does not make sense.. No where else are there two ikeas that close together..
I dont believe they are still really interested.. Someone is blowing smoke here. Either it is Ikea or our politicians..

Tricky

Sure, Paramus and Elizabeth (Newark Airport) in Jersey can't be much more than twenty miles apart. Chicago's got two about as far apart as well. Philadelphia also.

Ron Newman

If you go to the Ikea web site's store locator, you'll see that they plan to open one in Brooklyn even though there's already one in Long Island.

They also have four in the LA metro area, and two in the San Francisco Bay area.

They've consistently said that they want to have a store both north and south of Boston.

Bear

No where else are there two ikeas that close together..
Except for Toronto, Montreal, NYC, Chicago, Philly, SF, LA...

Yep, there's smoke going up someone's ass...


Bear

Assembly Square is closer to Boston City Hall than Fenway Park, and there's no shortage of new construction there.
Yeah, they're identical except, oh, Fenway has 2 trolley lines, commuter rail line, 33000 existing residents in 1.25 square miles, access to a half dozen major roads, several dozen bus routes, walking to downtown Boston, cultural institutions like the MFA & Gardner, a huge range of restaurants, the schools NU, BU, Berklee, Simmons, Wentworth, Wheelock, Emmanuel, parts of MIT, parts of Harvard, Boston Conservatory, Forsythe, Boston Latin, MCA, adjacent to the monster that is Longwood Medical District, Kenmore Square, Back Bay...

But yeah, I confuse 'em all the time! Development-wise they're the same profile, uh-huh...

Tricky

So sorry. I guess we ought to just bend over for the Christmas Tree Shop and sell ourselves short as Boston's Left Armpit (to pair up nicely with Everett's other armpit).

Tricky

Point by point:

2 trolley lines, plus commuter rail (when the Red Sox are playing) vs. a (tentative) Orange Line stop.

Residents closeby, I do not have numbers for. It's not negligible. There are a lot of people that close in East Somerville and Charlestown.

Access to half a dozen major roads - probably dead even. You can get much further away from Assembly Square in a given amount of time.

"Several dozen bus routes"? Come now. And Sullivan Square has how many?

Walking access to downtown Boston. Well, Assembly Square is closer to Boston City Hall. As far as a safe, attractive walk...

Of course Boston wins on the institutional front. Based on that difference, you want KMart City? I'll pass.

Bear

"KMart City" bringing in revenue or another generation of empty brownfields: That'll be cold comfort as you're deciding how much more to cut the schools and services.

eric brown

mystic valley tast force can kiss my ass. the taxes are going up in this city for property owns again and with mystic valley tast force holding up most of the deveplment at assembly square i be dead before they build anything else there because of that group time for the rest of the city to tell these non residents to leave they only came here from california after california kick them out. ask them about it. and they will deny they ever lived there.

disco2k

The Mystic View task force is a joke...Their motto ought to be "Keep Slummerville Shitty", The fact is, is that except for Davis Square, Somerville is a dump. I don't know where this group thinks that they live. The fact is, is that Somerville, East Somerville in particular is a slumhole. It's got some of the worst roads in the state in terms of damage, houses that look like crack dens, gangs...anyone remember the rapes of teenage girls by gang members a few years back? It's over run with illegals, abandoned cars...I mean come on. Assembly square is a wasteland with a polluted creek running through it. I htink this group thinks they live out in Weston or Lincoln, meanwhile the voices of those of who DO want ikea and DO want a total redevelopment have our tongues cut.

And for the record...mixed use is fine, but the city does NOT need more affordable or low income housing, 90% of it's residents are already low income living in their seedy section 8's already. Clean up the city already.

Delusion Al

You have the wrong group in mind bozo...these people want mix-use and market rate condos...not low income housing. Those types of units are determined by State and City mandate you idiot. You want to point your finger at a group that wants to do nothing BUT low income housing, then blame the Somerville Community Corporation...they want to be the only developer in town and their motto should be "keeping Slummervile real with houses for crack whore wellies". Get your facts straight. I'm no fan of the MVTF, but at least blame the right people.

Stagingworks

Ikea's proposal to Assembly Square landowners invites public grumbles. I don't know exactly what will happen as soon as the deal is signed by both parties. From Home Staging Service Professional

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