October 15, 2006

Union Square, Somerville Makeover Plans

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone "envisions a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with 12-story condo buildings with city skyline views, boutique hotels, and great cafes and restaurants. And he's got the development community interested," the Boston Globe real estate section writes about the Union Square. The plan "involves allowing much denser development in the square and rerouting traffic."

Redevelopment would include mixed-use residential with ground-floor retail, and rezoning to allow densities "about the same as Harvard Square."

And, the city is mulling "district improvement financing" that would use part of increased tax revenues from higher property values for "maintaining the streetscape in union Square," the Globe reports. Union Square's effort to, as the Globe put it, "break into the big time of hip, urban centers," will require a pedestrian-appealing streetscape, as well as a critical mass of residents and retail without large, uninteresting gaps (such as the strip malls, garages, car lots and sidewalk-fronting parking lots downtown Framingham contends with, making an unenticing walking environment).

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