On October 17, 2006, the Mystic View Task Force and Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) and IKEA announced that they had reached a settlement of long-standing Assembly Square disputes. The settlement comes after a mediation process conducted by Doug Foy, former Secretary of Commonwealth Development under Governor Romney, and Anne Tate, an architect and planner who teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. The developers agreed to take steps to guarantee long term development that will provide more jobs and tax revenue to the city than the initial retail and residential projects they are planning; they agreed to take steps to mitigate the environmental impacts of the traffic these projects will generate; and they agreed to make improvements to public open space along the river and throughout the site. In return, the Task Force agreed to drop its pending lawsuits.
Specific commitments include:
- Federal and IKEA will contribute $15 million toward the design, engineering and construction of a new MBTA Orange Line T stop at Assembly Square. In combination with the $25 million earmark secured by Congressman Capuano, this will speed the arrival of rapid transit to Assembly Square.
- Federal will plan and build (or improve) three important bike and pedestrian links to other Somerville neighborhoods: under Route 28 to Ten Hills, under the MBTA rail lines to Draw 7 Park, and to Sullivan Square via Lombardi Street.
- Federal will provide a bike path through the length of Assembly Square.
- Federal will plan and advocate for pedestrian connections from Foley Street to Foss Park, to the States Avenues section of East Somerville, across the Amelia Earhart dam, and along the waterfront from Assembly Square to Ryan Park in Charlestown.
- There will be a target of 50,000 vehicle trips per day to and from all of Assembly Square’s 145 acres, with a hard cap of 55,000 trips per day. Federal’s earlier projections of Assembly Square traffic involved approximately 100,000 trips per day. An Assembly Square Transportation Management Association, with MVTF representatives, will be responsible for making sure that the vehicle trip target and hard cap are met.
- Federal and IKEA will fund a Health Impact Study focused on the Interstate 93 / Route 28 and Route 38 corridors. The study will investigate base level and incremental additions to transportation emissions affecting neighborhoods in Somerville along the I93 / 28 and 38 corridors, including the Assembly Square district, and will suggest tactics that might minimize or mitigate transportation pollution.
- There will be additions to Mystic River parkland, new public green space throughout Assembly Square, and extensive use of green roofs and/or rooftop decks.
- The Long Term vision calls for caps on the amount of retail and residential space constructed in Assembly Square and sets a minimum required amount of office and /or research and development space.
NOTE: The settlement agreement is between MVTF and the developers. It does not bind the city of Somerville or other governmental entities. The details of the development will evolve as plans go through required governmental reviews.