MBTA Approves Assembly Sq. T-Stop Agreement
The agreement will move the design process for the new T-stop forward.
On Monday, the MBTA board voted to approve a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between Assembly Square developer Federal Realty Investment Trust and the MBTA--a step necessary to move forward with the planned Assembly Square Orange Line T-stop.
The approved agreement, which received unanimous support from the board, outlines the relationship between the MBTA and Federal Realty as they collaborate on the design and construction of the new T station. It also approves the funding plan for the planned $50 million MBTA station.
T-stop seen as critical to overall Assembly Square development
Federal Realty has repeatedly made clear that without the T-stop, development of the planned mixed-use neighborhood in the Assembly Square area (Assembly Row) could not move forward because commercial tenants would be difficult to draw to an urban site without MBTA access.
In November, Mayor Curtatone announced the development was in jeopardy after $23 million in expected federal funding for the T-stop failed to come through. In response, he asked the Board of Alderman to take emergency measures to ensure development of the Assembly Square district.
The board was asked to vote to issue a $25 million bond and to establish a DIF (District Improvement Financing plan) to help fund infrastructure development in the area--both steps are commitments the state required before committing to provide part of the missing federal funds.
On Dec. 2, the DIF was approved despite vocal opposition from some residents. A vote on the $25 million bond issuance is expected soon.
"The MBTA approval of the funding plan was contingent upon the City’s December decision to provide funding for street and utilities infrastructure in Assembly Square,” states a City press release.
T-stop to link new “urban campus” to public transit
The planned “urban campus” will include office space, residential units, parks retail shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. Federal Realty estimates it will be "the largest new neighborhood in the Commonwealth since the Back Bay.”
To date, Federal Realty has committed $15 million toward the construction of the new T-station that will link the area to public transit, and more than $100 million toward development of area infrastructure. Approval of the memorandum of agreement allows the MBTA and Federal Realty to move forward with the design process for the T station.
“With any public-private partnership of this magnitude it’s important to ensure roles are clearly defined. Approval of this MOA does just that,” Briggs said. “The MBTA has been a true partner in this endeavor. This will be the first time a new station has been built on the Orange line since the Southwest Corridor stations in 1987.”
About Assembly Row at Assembly Square
Plans for Assembly Row at Assembly Square include two million square feet of office space, 2,100 residential units, a 200-room hotel and 880,000 square feet of retail including a 65,000 square foot movie complex. Sidewalk cafes, parks, retail shops, restaurants, bike lanes and entertainment venues are also planned.
This article contains some material from a Federal Realty press statement.