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Denise Provost


Where is Denise Provost making a difference?

Assembly Square

[Assembly Square Waterfront]
Assembly Square includes Somerville's only undeveloped waterfront

Assembly Square, at 145 acres, is the city's largest redevelopment area. Since its designation as an Urban Renewal Area in the 1970s, it has been controversial, holding both problems and promise for Somerville.

[Assembly Square Sign]

Background Information

Home Depot

In 2000, the Assembly Square Limited Partnership (ASLP) applied for a building permit to demolish the former Assembly Square Mall and build a new, larger Home Depot store on the site. The Planning Board denied the "as of right" permit, ALSP filed an appeal in the Land Court. The Planning Board then allowed the project by Special Permit. Abuttor Louana Evarts appealed the decision in the Superior Court, which entered judgement in her favor in January 2003. ASLP filed notice of appeal on February 13, 2003.


IKEA at Assembly Square is probably the largest retail project proposed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - ironically in one of its smallest cities. Because of the size and location of the project - on a riverbank and accessible primarily by state-controlled roads - two kinds of state permit are necessary, as well as local permits. IKEA is subject to Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) review, through the MEPA unit of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA). The MEPA process consists of an Environmental Impact Notification (ENF), a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), and a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), all of which are subject to public comment.

IKEA also needs a Chapter 91 License from EOEA's Division of Waterways Protection. These permits are in addition to Special Permits and Planned Unit Development (PUD) Master Plan Approval by the Somerville Planning Board.

Urban Renewal Plan

Yard 21

This former railroad yard is a long, rectangular, 9-acre parcel along the Orange Line tracks, in the northeastern part of Assembly Square. The city purchased Yard 21 from the MBTA, then solicited private proposals for its redevelopment. Two proposals were received, from Cathartes/Habitat for Learning and the Sturtevant Partnership (Gravestar/Taurus). The city's Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) prepared the following chart comparing the two proposals. In November 2001, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority voted to designate the Sturtevant Partnership as the developer for this site.

Cathartes/Habitat for LearningGravestar/Taurus (Yard 21 Portion)Gravestar/Taurus (Full Program)
Acres Utilized9.1 acres9.1 acres26 acres
Office/R&D (square feet)1,060,0001,137,6002,03,000
Retail (square feet)70,00065,300327,800
Residential (units)7500860
Floor Area Ratio5.33.03.1
Parking Ratio1.1 - 1.8/1000 sf1.3 - 1.7/1000 sf1.3 - 1.8/1000 sf
Structured Parking Spaces20301,570-2,0794,180-5,900
Surface Parking Spaces000
Jobs (ft permanent)4,2002,800 (est.)5,500
Performing Arts Center60,000 sf21,000 sf21,000 sf
Tallest Building30 stories20 stories (est.)22 stories
Tax Benefit$8.2 million (gross)$4.1 million (gross est.)$7 million (net)
Tax Increment FinancingYesMaybeMaybe
Purchase Price$8 million$4.1 million$4.1 million
Other Community Benefits $2.6 million (est.)$2.95 million
Total Investment$543 million$242 million (est.)$705 million
Time FrameComplete by 2005Complete by 2006Complete by 2008

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Denise Provost, Alderman-at-Large, Somerville, MA

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