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The gentrification battle lines are forming in Somerville’s Union Square

Developers are starting to flock, or at least thinking of flocking, to Somerville’s Union Square area, now that the Green Line extension is coming and the city has dumped a lot money into fixing up the square.

Paul McMorrow is worried that Somerville may be already blowing it:

But Somerville’s Green Line bet only works if developers can take advantage of the opportunities the streetcars present. The Somerville Community Corporation’s Washington Street development will be one of the first built under the city’s new Green Line zoning. Its experience shows the same old housing fights persisting, even after years of community dialogue around Union Square’s future. The 65-unit compromise the neighborhood developer is now seeking will be well below zoning allowances.
Somerville can’t afford to make a habit of permitting transit-oriented developments that fall short of zoning.

File under: Et tu, Somerville?