Officials Respond to New 'University Station' Project
An initial phase of the project is expected to open in 2014, according to an announcement last week.
In theory, by 2014, an initial phase of what was once known as Westwood Station could be finalized and open to the public.
That's the plan, at least, according to an announcement last Friday in which involved entities renamed the project University Station.
The new partnership of New England Development, Eastern Real Estate, National Development/Charles River Realty Investors and Clarion Partners have opted to acquire 130 acres in town to develop the mixed-use project, which will include space for retail, housing, office and hotel use.
While no formal plans have been brought to the Westwood Planning Board or other committees, officials this week said they were excited that the project has regained some steam and are eager to engage in discussions.
"I'm glad to see some activity finally taking place down there," said Westwood Board of Selectmen Chair Pat Ahearn. "The project's been dormant for a long time, and that commercial development down there could be vital to our tax base."
Although he wasn't certain how the project will progress, Ahearn noted that having a familiar entity on board with the revival of the project could be a benefit.
"The good news is that New England Development was involved with at least the retail piece in Westwood Station, so they have an understanding of what the town's expectations are, and should be able to work within those expectations."
While the project will continue on as a mixed-use project, Town Administrator Mike Jaillet said there could be some changes to the density of the project, such as what businesses may be included.
Both Target and Wegman's have expressed interest in the past with Westwood Station, and 160 Westwood Patch readers voted in favor of having a Wegman's in town in a poll last November.
"I fully expect that the plans that were initially presented to us back when it was known as Westwood Station are going to be changed significantly," Jaillet said. "What we understand is that it will remain mixed use […] so that aspect of the project we expect to be the same."
Meanwhile, the Westwood Planning Board is awaiting the submission of a new application for the proposed project, said to Town Planner Nora Loughnane, though the board has yet to receive any specific information about the project.
"The town has been interested in seeing some development progress since the last one stopped going forward," Jaillet said. "We're looking forward to beginning to review the plans and submissions that New England Development and the partners will be making to the Planning Board and whatever other permitting agencies they need to talk to."