The Somerville Redevelopment Authority has acquired by eminent domain several parcels of land in Union Square in preparation for a future Green Line station in the neighborhood.
Steven Azar, a senior planner with the city of Somerville, said the redevelopment authority recorded orders of taking with the registry of deeds during the first week of June, which he said means the city now owns the parcels.
He said the city is paying $4.5 million for them.
The so-called North Prospect Block parcels, 21 in all—though many are small and merged together into larger property holdings—sit on the east side of Prospect Street, south of Somerville Avenue and north of the railroad tracks.
It's an industrial area, and some of the properties taken contain businesses like:
- A-1 New & Used Plumbing & Heating, which sells antique radiators, tubs and other vintage fixtures.
- Empire Marble & Granite, which installs kitchen countertops.
- Prospect Iron & Steel, a scrap metal recycling business.
- Allen Street Auto, a junkyard.
The Somerville Redevelopment Authority also owns several parcels in the area.
The redevelopment authority took the property in order to fulfill a commitment with the MBTA regarding the future Green Line Extension station at the site, and plans for the land takings were outlined in the Union Square Revitalization Plan, which was approved in October, 2012.
In a memorandum of understanding from July, 2012, the city agreed to grant easements to the MBTA so the transportation authority could build the Union Square Green Line station. In return, the MBTA agreed to have the station operational by early 2017.
The land takings allow the city to fulfill its part of the memorandum of understanding, Azar said, adding, "It's really holding the state to their commitment."
He said the legal statute governing land takings requires the pre-taking owners to vacate in four months, "but we're working with them."
Azar said a relocation agent has been working with the owners to find them new places to do business. Empire Marble & Granite is looking at sites in Cambridge, and A-1 New & Used Plumbing & Heating, which has been on PBS's "This Old House," is looking for nearby sites in Somerville, he said.
Azar said taking land by eminent domain is a process, and "we're all still in that process."
He said the easements for the MBTA have already been drafted, and once special volumetric engineering plans are complete, which could be in a few weeks, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority is ready to grant easements to the MBTA.
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