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Watertown’s Rapid Development Projects

What is going on in Watertown? A relatively quiet town right outside of Boston has some major construction projects underway with more starting in the near future.

The most significant project in Watertown which will create the most change is Arsenal Yards.  This new neighborhood/retail complex development, currently inhabited by the Arsenal Mall, will deconstruct the additions built to create the mall, expose the original architecture of the Army Arsenal that it used to be, and re-envision the space to be an open concept retail complex, with residential buildings, a hotel, chef-driven restaurants, green space and better access to Arsenal Park and the Charles River.

Where is Arsenal Yards & what is it now?

In the southeastern area of Watertown, Arsenal Yards sits along the Charles and is only roughly 1 mile away from West Cambridge.

For those familiar with the area, Arsenal Mall is currently in this space which will be demolished in fall 2017. The mall itself was built in the 1980’s from absorbed buildings used originally by the U.S. Army to assemble tanks and cannons.  With construction impending, businesses are already clearing out of the buildings.

 

What does this development project entail?

Arsenal Yards will surround two old buildings constructed in 1819. The two buildings will be redeveloped to reveal the masonry and steel work of the original buildings.  Roughly half of these historic buildings will be retail space. Additionally, there will be four new residential buildings and a hotel that will have ground-floor retail space.  In all, Arsenal Yards will include 325,000 square feet of retail, 165,000 square feet of office space, a 150-room hotel and 425 residential units.

Developers are contributing $2 million towards traffic planning to avoid congestion on Arsenal Street and surrounding neighborhoods.

Retail Offerings:

photo courtesy of arsenalyards.com

  • Shops
  • Specialty Fitness
  • Personal Service
  • Health & Beauty
  • Specialty Grocer
  • Fine Dining & Casual Eateries
  • SuperLux Movie Theatre

Hotel:

  • Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel
  • Construction Begins: Fall 2017
  • Planned Opening: Spring 2019

Residential Buildings: 

  • Rental & for-sale units, ranging from studios to multi-bedroom apartments.
  • Completion in 2020.

Arsenal Park, adjacent to Arsenal Yards, is going to be redesigned to make better use of the space and to address walkways and access in and around the park.  The demolition of the Arsenal Mall will restore access to this park.  This project is separate from Arsenal Yards, but the developers of Arsenal Yards plan to coordinate with the town in their efforts to revitalize the park.

Other development projects in Watertown:

Bell Watertown, 192 Pleasant Street, construction complete.

Watertown Mews, 1 Repton Place, construction complete.

80 Elm Street, located behind Target, is the old Atlantic Battery building which is proposed to be developed into a 100-room hotel.  The surrounding community has opposed the proposal, citing traffic as a major deterrent.

A multi-use complex called The Gables at 202-204 Arsenal Street, construction complete.

Marriott Residence Inn, 570 Arsenal Street, construction complete.

321 Arsenal Street, the old bank converted into Branch Line Restaurant, construction complete.

Bell Watertown, 200 Waltham Street, construction complete.

65 Grove Street, former GE Ionics Building converted into office, R&D, lab and/or medical space, construction complete.

Riverbend on the Charles, 270 Pleasant Street, construction complete.

480 Arsenal Street, renovated building previously used by Verizon, developed into two buildings to create 180,000 square feet of office space.

Aetna Health purchased Arsenal on the Charles complex from Harvard in 2013. Aetna Health founder Jonathan Bush is partnering with Boylston Properties in the purchase and development of Arsenal Yards.