Everett moves closer to $65-$70M development

January 27, 2010
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“This notice of intent is full of details the way that all reports should be done,” Jon Norton, Chairman of the Everett Conservation Commission said before the Commission voted unanimously to issue the Order of Condition to Berkeley Green II LLC, developers of the vacant General Electric site that has laid dormant for over 10 years on Thursday night.

The meeting ended a conservation committee process that began in December when commissioners went to view the site.

Officials from Berkeley and ESS Group presented their plan for the almost 40-acre site that will include the five office buildings as well as a public river walk, scenic overlook point along the Malden River and greater public access to the 7.7 acre public park.

When fully developed, the project could total $65-$70 million, officials say.

Janet Carter Bernardo from EES outlined the system that will be used for capturing the runoff water from both the rooftops and the asphalt parking lots that are planned.

The runoff water will be captured in storage tanks that will retain any dirt or other debris before it is returned to the watershed around the Malden River. Some water will be used for irrigation of the site. The water will be considered very clean as a result of the debris having been filtered out.

Carter said that the tanks would have to be cleaned out at least yearly to ensure that the tanks are maintained. The owners of the various buildings would assume the yearly cost.

Berkeley developers will be paying for the sewer system installation and new roadway to the development as well as the river walkway and scenic overlook that will be eventually turned over to the City of Everett.

The entire development is being built on a brown field.

A brown field is an area that has hosted prior development.

Presently, the site has a 7.7-acre passive public park that is still not fully open to the public as access is difficult. The park has been capped with the dirt from steps of Glendale Park where the new high school was built.

Carol Wasserman from ESS said, “GE left a lot of stuff in ground like bricks and concrete that are not clean fill where the buildings will be located. However, for public access along the waterfront, the clean-up will be to a higher level.” She noted that cleats are not allowed even in the 7.7-acre public park since cleats would disturb the soil.

The five office buildings will be built on slabs, in order not to disturb any dirt. Presently, the site can only house both office and light industrial buildings.

Wasserman also told the Commissioners that the project will be market driven and that Berkeley officials have committed to building the scenic outlook and this will be open to the public shortly.

The river walkway could be open to the public no earlier then third quarter 2012.

“I am in favor of this project,” Aldermanic President Robert Van Campen said at the meeting. Van Campen echoed the feelings of both public officials and residents who attended the hearing.

“We have waited a long time for a development down there,” Ward Six Cynthia Sarnie told the Conservation Commissioners.

A letter from the Medford Conservation Commission (MCC) asking that the Everett Conservation Commission delay their vote until members of the MCC could attend the hearing. The letter stated that members of the MCC felt that they were abutters to the project.

However, Norton countered that claim saying that in his opinion the only abutting area is underwater and will not be impacted by this development.

He went on to say that Everett officials had tried to stop the present wastewater station in Charlestown from being constructed and failed.

“We tried to find an inch of Everett land that abutted this plant, we could not and we were told that we had no standing,” Norton said.

Berkeley officials will have to appear before the Everett Planning Board and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection as they seek more approvals for the project.