Since 2002, however, lots has changed in Assembly Square.
Assembly Row is under construction on a parcel of land once owned by IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant. And IKEA, which swapped its land for another parcel in Assembly Square, has decided not to build a store at all.
The MBTA's first new rail stop since 1987 is expected to open in Assembly Square in 2014, Circuit City has been closed since 2009, and a reconstructed riverside state park opened this September.
In all, it's "a good time to consider what needs to come next for the development of the square," according to Daniel DeMaina, a spokesperson for the mayor's office.
Updating an Old Plan
The Assembly Square Revitalization Plan is a document that outlines a vision and development plan for the area. It includes things like maps and economic goals. It was originally written in 1980, and it received a major update in 2002.
It outlines a 129.2-acre urban renewal district, bordered, roughly, by Interstate 93, Route 28, the Mystic River and the city's border with Charlestown.
That district won't change, according to an announcement from the city. It says the updated plan will focus on the 73 acres that aren't part of the Assembly Row development (which sits on 56.2 acres).
The updated plan will look to encourage mixed-use development on those remaining acres, and it might identify things like possible acquisition parcels and infrastructure needs, the announcement says.
$500,000 to Update Plan
The Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development has asked the Somerville Board of Aldermen to approve $500,000 for consulting services to help draft the updated revitalization plan, according to DeMaina.
Those consultants would assist the city in areas like planning and design, engineering, infrastructure analysis and legal support, the announcement says.
DeMaina said there are no specific changes or targeted acquisition parcels at this point. Those details would emerge as the city and consultants draft the new revitalization plan.
First, the Somerville Board of Aldermen would need to approve the $500,000 allocation. After that, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority, the Somerville Planing Board, the Somerville Board of Aldermen and, ultimately, the state would need to approved the final document.