~Press release from Somerville  Community Corporation

On the evening of Thursday July 11, the Somerville Planning Board will meet to discuss and vote on the proposed development by the Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) and Boston-based Cathartes Private Investments (CPI) at 181 & 197 Washington Street in Union Square, Somerville. The hearing will begin at 6:00 pm at the Argenziano School, 290 Washington Street in Somerville.

This joint proposal between SCC and Cathartes Private Investments represents a unique private/nonprofit partnership to transform a vacant building and underutilized lot into 84 new energy-efficient apartments over retail and office space that:

  • Embraces the community’s vision for a vibrant, connected, transit-oriented Union Square;
  • Supports SomerVision’s goals, in particular to create 6,000 new units of housing- 1,200 of them permanently affordable- by 2030
  • Provides a welcoming gateway to a neighborhood remaining affordable to people of all incomes;
  • Preserves opportunities for everyone- including working families with children- to thrive in Somerville and to benefit from the Green Line Extension.

Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) is committed to working with and being guided by Somerville residents.  We want everyone to benefit from access to good jobs, great transportation, a thriving economy, public open space, and other city amenities.  To ensure this, SCC prioritizes the value of “keeping housing within reach” of people of all incomes.

For more information about SCC and about this project: www.everyonessomerville.org

For more on SCC’s vision for this project: http://ow.ly/mcp0E

For live video testimonials from Somerville residents, political candidates, and public officials speaking in support of this project: http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T02351&video=158191

For detailed plans, sketches, and studies on this project: http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/planning-board/reports-and-decisions

To read the most recent staff report on this project, click here

press release



15 Responses to “Somerville Planning Board to Vote on 181/197 Washington Street July 11”

  1. Sam M says:

    The Somerville Community Corporation has unified our neighborhood (against their development plans). It is a sincere disappointment for members of the community who would very much like to support what SCC claims to do in spirit when they march into a neighborhood and literally claim that damage done by the overdevelopment of their massive low-income housing development is outweighed by a greater good. This is in direct conflict with any mission that the City has prescribed (and SCC claims to embrace) about enhancing the community through cooperation with the residents. This project will only create greater divisions and mobilize residents against developers like SCC.

  2. MarketMan says:

    As posted by “Greg” on a related thread:

    Take a look at this link: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=204477628557234251882.0004e0e24f350a2552e8d&msa=0&ll=42.381269,-71.09239&spn=0.005349,0.010804

    This is a map of all the residents who reside on and around Prospect Hill who oppose the development in it’s current form (5 stories). It looks like there is tremendous opposition against this project from the ACTUAL neighborhood.

  3. MarketMan says:

    “Provides a welcoming gateway to a neighborhood remaining affordable to people of all incomes;”

    It does NOT remain affordable to people of all incomes. Affordable housing puts income limits on prospective buyers. Market rate housing is not affordable to everyone . So the project creates a hole, where middle income folks cannot afford to live there.

    I do not think the people of Somerville are looking for housing projects that only allows lower income and upper income families to live here.

    Or is that REALLY the goal of “affordable housing”??

  4. MarketMan says:

    Why is Somerville News continuing to serve as a propaganda engine for SCC? The above article is a marketing ploy disguised as news.

  5. Still Another Union Square Neighbor says:

    MarketMan, Hello?

    The Somerville News identified the article as a PRESS RELEASE…

    “Propaganda engine for SCC…” yeah, right….

    Think before you erupt!

  6. suzie says:

    The map purporting to show the amount of support for this project, looks to show about 100 or fewer ‘neighbors’. About 1/3, however, aren’t even neighbors, but people who live in other parts of the city. So the term itself is disingenous. And beyond that, if 100 or fewer support the project across the city, that is certainly not a mandate.

  7. Union Square Neighbor says:

    It’s a tad arrogant for SCC to claim that they know the Planning Board will vote on this today. This was the same claim they made for the previous Planning Board meeting, and obviously that was wrong.
    However, once again SCC will stage a pep rally outside the meeting room before the meeting. Except for their paid organizers, everyone else in attendance apparently doesn’t have a job, or is too young to have one.
    I just hope they don’t start throwing the “n” word at the neighbors again!

  8. mememe says:

    Meh, they are a propaganda machine. All they do is print press releases, would be nice if they added some context, actual info, or news reporting.

    Would be great if they did an article on the 100k they have gotten over the last three years from the city of Somerville. If they are going to act as an arm of the marketing department for Somerville, they should do so transparently. http://www.somervillema.gov/departments/finance/auditing

  9. Joe Beckmann says:

    Hey, wait a minute MarketMan! For once and for all, “affordable” does NOT mean low income. It means targeted MIDDLE income ranges. I don’t think a $60,000 annual income, which is part of that range, is particularly “poor.” And there are nearly 20 units that will be “market” priced in any case. Stop this gibberish about “housing projects.” As somebody who lives right behind Properzi Manor, which IS a “housing project,” but which is full of nice elderly people like myself, I can’t conceive of what you’re yammering about.

  10. MarketMan says:

    Joe: I think you’ve misunderstood my point. I’m not against low income, middle income, or high income folks. I’m not classifying $60k as low income either. My argument has always been that if you set an upper threshold on “affordable” housing and leave the rest of housing at market rate, you create a divide with a hole in the middle. The policy does not allow all people to live here as affordable housing advocates suggest. You allow people who meet the affordable housing criteria and people who can afford market rate. If Somerville market rate prices continue to increase, as many fear they will, then the income gap between those that qualify for “affordable housing” and those that can afford market rate will continue to increase. Also, if you continue to create more “affordable housing” with the same criteria, the income gap also increases. Why? The median income decreases (more people at lower range) and the market prices increases (fewer market rate homes as a percentage). In reality, it isn’t that perfect obviously… because people aren’t force to live in Somerville. But you get the idea.

  11. JPM says:

    Affordable housing units huh? I lived in this kind of building in Cambridge. The reality is that that people who get and go to work every morning pay $2500 a month for an apartment…while their neighbors pay $700 a month for exactly the same apartment (many of whom don’t even work or are on disability!) Makes you wonder why you bother trying!!

  12. Larry says:

    Joe, $60K for a family – in this area – is at the VERY bottom of the middle-income scale. In Nebraska or Georgia maybe $60K gets you into the middle class – as a family – here – no. It’s low-income here and most of that income — for many — coming via subsidies from the state or federal government.

    Just my 2cents as I don’t live near that area, but this project sounds like it has so much opposition that by the time it gets built it will cost 3X what it was planned. Not only in $, but in reputation. SCC is better off trying to work with the neighbors and come up with something that will work instead of trying to make a quick $.

    The SCC ought to keep this quote in mind: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

  13. Jim says:

    They claim they did parking studies!!! NOT during snow emergency. People… THERE IS NO PLACE TO PARK IN THIS NEIGHBIRHOOD WHEN IT SNOWS. Can anyone tell us where we are to park during these snow days now that we’ll have 84 MORE units in the area? It’s not only during snow emergency it is for weeks after major storms. COME ON!! How many households out there really only have 1 car?? I’m certain MANY of these 84 units will have more than one car to park and they WILL be on the street which will only make the neighborhood congested and miserable to live in. I am not opposed to this project by any stretch, but PLEASE do not go with any fewer parking spaces than is mandated by ordinance. This is VERY unfair. WE LIVE HERE THE DEVELOPERS DO NOT!!! Remember, once it’s done, there are no alternatives. I am hopeful our elected officials see this and WORK FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD rather than for people who do not live in our City let alone our neighborhood!

  14. Harry says:

    stop whining and park it at a nearby parking garage! Unless you want your car trashed, that is where you should park it anyway during snow time!

  15. Villenous says:

    There’s going to be a lot more housing built in and around Union Square regardless of this project. Parking is going to be tight and smart people in the area are going to get a garage space or figure out how to live without a car. If you want lots of parking space, move to the suburbs.

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