Assembly Square Planning Services

Somerville, Massachusetts

Harriman prepared the mixed-use master plan for Assembly Square, a 145-acres of underdeveloped land between Interstate 93 and the Mystic River. The plan provides the framework for a vital new district of the City, including retail, office, housing, hotel and institutional uses. A new transit station and a water transportation terminal are planned, along with an extensive public open space system. The development plan anticipates over 10 million square feet of new development over 20 years, making it one of the largest comprehensively planned urban mixed-use districts in the northeast.

The master plan established a balance between the high market demand and development proposals associated with large format retail and critical community goals to create a more balanced mixed-use district that would bring far greater long-term economic and civic benefits to the community. The master plan was prepared with an extensive community participation process.

Zoning incentives were created to ensure that the long-term development pattern maximized value to the City, which is highly dependent upon the taxes and employment that will result. The zoning used unprecedented measures to limit the proportions of any single use, and to provide incentives so that multiple uses can be developed in concert, shifting the market forces and attracting positive development.