Hi everyone! I’m Amanda Maher, Economic Development Specialist with the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, and part of the 10-member City delegation that today begins touring projects of all four Master Development finalists for the targeted redevelopment of Union Square. I will be posting all week here on the Somerville by Design blog with updates from our visits to projects in Bethesda, Maryland; Chicago; Portland, Oregon; and San Jose.
While we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask the developer teams, community members and local officials, we need your input! Leave comments below or tweet us at @somerbydesign and tell us what questions you want us to ask developers, and we’ll post responses all week here.
We’re not just seeing development projects. We’re on a fact-finding mission to learn more about the capacity of each team for taking on a challenging infill development like Union Square. We’re probing about teams’ financials, asking community members about their experience interacting in these neighborhoods, and learning from local governments about how the teams engaged with local stakeholder groups. Each member of the 10-person delegation will ask questions including:
- How will you approach the construction and long-term financing of the projects? Which sources of financing are you most likely to utilize?
- How would you propose to temporarily relocate existing businesses currently situated in any of the disposition blocks during the construction phase, and offer these tenants new space once built?
- What investment strategy would you have in place to manage a multi-phase development such as Union Square?
The first stop: Bethesda, Maryland, where the team will visit Bethesda Row, a project by finalist Federal Realty Investment Trust, which is partnering with National Development on its response to the Somerville Redevelopment Authority’s RFQ. Check back for more from this visit, and remember to tell us what you want us to ask in the comments below or by tweeting us at @somerbydesign.