Years in the making, USQ development breaks ground in Somerville’s Union Square

New Developments News Somerville
usq in somerville
An artist's rendering of the planned 2.4 million-square-foot development in Somerville's Union Square. US2

Ground was broken on the 15-acre $2 billion USQ development in Somerville’s Union Square today, marking the beginning of the realization of the city’s SomerVision 2040 plan.

Wednesday’s ceremonial dig, attended by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, launched USQ’s first phase at 10-50 Prospect St. The 4-acre site, which is adjacent to the new MBTA Green Line Station, will bring 194,000 square feet of lab and tech space, slated for occupancy in winter 2022; 450 apartments, due for a spring 2023 move-in; and retail.

Subsequent phases of the USQ project will redevelop 11 acres nearby within the decade.

By 2014, a conglomerate of developers — Magellan Development, RAS Development LLC, Cypress Equity Investments, and USAA Real Estate — had come together as US2 to bring the project to fruition.

USQ’s cornerstone is undoubtedly the MBTA Green Line extension to the new Union Square Station, which is expected to open in December.

“There’s no question: The Green Line extension is essential to everything that we’re doing,” said Greg Karczewski, president of US2. “It’s an important shift for accessibility and to accomplish our vision of re-establishing business here.”

Bringing back business, Karczewski said, was essential for elevating the whole of Union Square and Somerville, not just USQ.

“In the 1800s with the streetcars running 100 times a day, Somerville was a bustling neighborhood with grist mills, brick makers, and a copper tubing industry,” Karczewski said. “Then with the rise of cars, the train went away, and Union Square had a hard time finding its economic identity.”

It is hoped that public transit will boost business and with it new housing, essential to keep Union Square a thriving, livable neighborhood and not just a business center.

“In planning, we looked at neighborhoods in Cambridge to see what worked. Kendall Square, which had done well with businesses but neglected housing, was a cautionary tale,” Karczewski said.

Phase one will deliver 450 apartments of the proposed 1,000 residences for the entire project. Of those, 200 will be permanently affordable units, with 90 permanently affordable units coming in phase one. Divided up as 60% commercial and 40% residential, 10-50 Prospect St. will offer studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments in a 25-story tower.

Amenities will include a rooftop pool, a fitness center, a lounge, and dog facilities. There will be 271 parking spaces shared between phase one’s two buildings.

“We’re delivering in phases,” Karczewski said. “With a large-scale development like this, you go through different market cycles. We anticipate seven to 10 years before [USQ] is all completed.”

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