11/18/13 Assembly Square Public Advisory Committee Meeting Notes Reply

11/18/13 Assembly Square Public Advisory Committee Meeting Notes

Following are some notes from the 11/18/13 Assembly Square Public Advisory Committee meeting.

  • The streets, sidewalks and ground floor retail on the four mixed use blocks will have their grand opening Memorial Day 2014. Generally, Assembly Row will be outlet stores for soft goods, such as a Nike outlet store, Saks off 5th. Planned also are restaurants like Legal Seafoods, a J.P. Licks ice cream shop in the triangular area, etc.
  • The cinema on the upper floors of one block may have a soft opening a few weeks earlier.
  • The Lego Land on the second floor of the cinema block (40,000 SF) should open Memorial Day.  It is aimed at children 4 to 12 years old and will include rides, project and play spaces, and birthday rooms.
  • The apartments on the upper stories of two blocks should open for move-in on Memorial Day.
  • The offices on the upper story of the fourth block will be finished outside but not ready for upper-story occupancy on Memorial Day.
  • Federal Realty has met with Jobs for Somerville representatives. They have hired a local site manager and a web site portal is in work for employers and employees. A job fair is planned. There will be about 1500 retail jobs.
  • The new Orange Line T-stop is slated to open in July or so. That schedule is not controlled by the developers.
  • The next two blocks to be developed after the four underway are likely the next two Main Street blocks to the south (toward Boston). This would result in three solid blocks of double-sided Main Street-like retail (six block sides total), which in turn should help with the upper stories. Patrick McMann has been hired to do phase 2 (blocks 5 and 6). They are talking about office above, retail below, along with a hotel.
  • The Route 28 bike and pedestrian underpass is awaiting lights and assurances that the Ten Hills side has good drainage at the landing. A traffic bump is causing drainage problems.

Suggestions included:

  • Adding an electronics store here, such as Micro Center, to get well-educated people used to the place.
  • Having foreign films at the cinema to bring in a diverse population.
  • Increasing frequency of bus service to Assembly Square. This is difficult because currently, bus service is a zero-sum game.
  • Create a library cum gathering place. We need a reason other than shopping to go to Assembly Square.
  • Create a nursery on the IKEA site. This would aid in landscaping the IKEA site of Foley Street, which would improve its appearance to office tenants.
  • Putting a Mystic River Watershed Association office in the corner near the Winter Hill Yacht Club, or perhaps an Audubon Center or revolving art exhibit.

Issues included:

  • According to Federal Realty, a grocery store at the IKEA site is not off the table. They are looking at various options.
  • Jobs for Somerville residents is an ongoing issue. Individual case management will be required, along with job training. The setup for jobs needs to be done before Labor Day 2014. Federal Realty is working on a directory of leading tenants. The tenants are employers; Federal Realty says it can’t affect that.

[Information contributed by Wig Z. and David D. Anyone present who has anything to add, please let me know.]

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