New multi-use building greenlighted for Broadway and Glen St.

On August 9, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

The soon to be former site of East End Grille at the corner of Broadway and Glen St. has been approved for a multi-use development to include retail, residential, and parking spaces.— Photo by Bobbie Toner

By Rob Carter

Somerville’s Planning Board voted unanimously allow construction of a five-story multi-use building to replace the East End Grille on the corner of Broadway and Glen Street at an Aug. 3 meeting.

Goodfood Restaurant Group LLC plans to replace the restaurant with a new building with retail space on the first floor and 24 housing units, of which four will be inclusionary housing. The special permit also includes construction of a parking garage with up to 20 spaces.

The meeting, which was a continuation of a July 13 meeting, was closed to public comment. But board member Michael Capuano used his position to relay a few requests from the community members to the applicant’s agent, Sean O’Donovan.

Capuano requested the fence surrounding the site be raised from six feet to eight, which O’Donovan agreed to do. The board member also requested that construction be confined to weekdays after 9 a.m. O’Donovan said that avoiding work on Saturdays might cause unnecessary delays in the construction.

“The more you constrict it the longer it takes,” O’Donovan said. “We will work with ISD on the hours. The only reason I raised the issue of Saturdays is we don’t want the project to get dragged out.”


The Somerville Planning Board came to a unanimous decision in voting to allow the development, in spite of some concerns over parking and weekend construction. — Photo by Rob Carter

Board member Kevin Prior noted the addition of a row of fast growing trees, which are expected to grow to 30 feet.

“I think the visual barrier will be in place by the fence and the landscaping, which will address any privacy concerns,” said Prior, but added that he wanted the landscaping maintained by the developers not just planted.

The unanimous vote without time for public comment caught some of the aldermen in attendance off guard. Alderman At-Large Mary Jo Rossetti told a colleague she was surprised that parking was not discussed at all. In a letter to the Board submitted before the meeting, Rossetti had outlined parking as a major concern for residents.

“The community reminds us of the already heavy traffic, limited parking availability, and concern of safety for our children and their families as they walk to the nearby East Somerville Community School,” Rossetti wrote. “I urge you to request the applicant reduce the size and scope of this project and additionally prepare for increased parking, as the neighbors and I have consistently requested.”



7 Responses to “New multi-use building greenlighted for Broadway and Glen St.”

  1. Ward 1 Resident says:

    The manner that the Planning Board passed this was disgraceful.

    Many neighbors showed up to speak, and they were all silenced. Aldermen prepared to comment were ignored. The Board discussed nothing about the reduced parking, added traffic congestion on Broadway, construction right across from the library, or the expected rents of the new condos in the ugly monstrosity that’s going in there.

    Instead, Board chairman Prior devoted his entire 3 minute commentary to describing how the lower branches of the bushes that are going to be planted in the back alley need to be set off the fence at least 16 inches or they’ll die. Because that’s what happened around his next door neighbors pool.

    It was a surreal experience of lousy government and the Somerville development rubberstamp culture that is destroying our neighborhoods.

  2. What happened? says:

    Why didn’t Capuano keep his crowd pleasing streak alive by brining up resident’s concerns or allowing alderman to speak?

  3. Old Taxpayer says:

    I would expect no less.. When it’s moving this fast makes you kinda wonder. But it is supposed to make you think you had input on it.

  4. LindaS says:

    Why does every building in Somerville have to become apartments or condos? Don’t we have enough people here yet?

    I would much rather see idle building spaces devoted either to stores or to places that help give back to the community in some way.

    Why do we never hear that someone is building a retirement community in Somerville? Maybe because they don’t want anyone living here long enough to get old.

    We need affordable housing for those who are already here, not high-end condos for rich yuppies who don’t intend to be here long enough to put down roots. We need shelters for those homeless who aren’t yet able to provide for themselves, or youth centers to give kids positive things to do to keep them off the streets.

    Of course, those things don’t make money, which is why the Mayor doesn’t do enough to encourage them to be built here.

    I agree with Ward 1 Resident that our neighborhoods are being destroyed. There are no new “neighborhoods” here anymore, only apartment complexes for people who work all day long and aren’t around long enough to socialize with their neighbors.

    Some will complain that people like me are against “progress,” but I can’t see anything that tears down neighborhoods to create cookie-cutter apartment buildings and condos as “progress.”

    I am lucky enough to live in a single-family home, but get countless offers in the mail from realtors begging me to sell. If I did, you can be sure my home would be either torn down or renovated into a multi-unit condo. No way am I leaving my house unless I have absolutely no alternative, I don’t care how much it’s worth. It’s worth much more to me as a home.

    We need more single-family homes here to encourage people to come here for long periods of time. Good luck getting anyone to build those.

  5. Matt says:

    Linda, How would you suggest the city encourage development you are interested in. Also, where would you like to see the development of new doggie families and how would you propose to keep the costs down when you yourself see multiple unsolicited offers for your older home?

  6. Jeff says:

    People aren’t going to stop coming here. Even if we stopped building any new housing, they’re gonna keep coming. Our city is just too awesome a place!

    Making reasonable increases in the density of our city is the only way we’ll keep it reasonable to live here.

    We do need additional community resources, but we need more money to provide those things. Our residential property taxes are already some of the highest in the state; I’d much prefer to add more capacity to the tax base, than have each of us pay more ourselves. This has done wonders in Cambridge, where the residential tax rate is half of ours. (Seriously; look it up).

    That means adding and expanding property (residential and commercial), as well as continuing to push on developers to kick in to help improve the city (like in Assembly Row w/ the various parks added/improved, and the Orange Line station).

    I’m disappointed by the views presented by Linda.

    Why do you assume that people don’t want to live for a long time in multi-family buildings?

    Why would it be so terrible if, after you’ve moved, a single-family became a home for two or three families?

    I happen to be one of those so-called “rich yuppies” she refers to, and I plan on living in Somerville for the rest of my days. In a unit in a multi-family building. With my wife, and the couple of kids we’re planning on having.

    I’ve lived in the Boston area for 15 years, renting the entire time (and watching rents around me rise precipitously). I’m not the exception; many of my friends are working hard to stay here.

    Here’s to hoping we keep creating more homes, so more of our friends to stick around.

  7. Villenous says:

    That whole section of Broadway eventually ought to be lined with five-story buildings. That’s what it’s zoned for and it’s long past time this city started building up to its allowable zoned heights.

    The thing I’d like to see changed is the parking requirements. A project like this ought to have minimal to no parking. The new residents can figure out public transit, and if they can’t then go live somewhere else. I’m under the impression the new zoning proposal does that. At least that’s my understanding of it from the meeting I attended. So pass the zoning that gets rid of the suburban parking requirements.

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