July 26, 2005: Air base plans get the final approval votes
Sept. 24, 2004
AIR BASE PLAN: LOTS OF HOUSING
Developer proposes nearly 3,000 units of housing by 2017
A plan for the future of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station was made public last night that the developer says would provide the three towns where the base is located with $11.1 million in additional tax revenue annually after paying for schools and other town services.
The plan calls for building 2,855 homes and condos and creating 2,533 new jobs on the base by 2017.
The plan California-based developer Lennar Partners presented for the 1,405-acre base includes six villages clustered together, mostly in Weymouth and within a 5-minute walk of the projects center. About 250 people attended the presentation last night.
Construction would take place in three phases and last from 2008 to 2017.
This is a big enough project that it will impact the entire region, David Hall, Lennar vice president for Northeast operations, said. It impacts the South Shore.
The Navy is still deciding whether to transfer without cost a major portion of the base property to South Shore Tri-Town Development Corp., the regional development agency that has contracted with Lennar to be master developer.
Its too soon for us to have a position on the presentation. We want to see what Tri-Town thinks, John Peters, a civilian spokesman for the Navy, said today in a telephone interview from Norfolk, Va.
After subtracting annual impacts and services for the development, Lennar estimates an $11.1 annual profit to the towns each year by 2017 $5.1 million to Weymouth, $4.7 million to Rockland and $1.3 million to Abington.
All figures that Lennar presented, including home costs and fiscal benefits, are in 2004 dollars and do not account for inflation.
The housing proposal is a mix of apartments, condos and single-family homes, with prices ranging from about $250,000 for some condos to almost $1 million for single-family homes bordering an 18-hole golf course on the south side of the base.
The idea is that we need a diversity of housing, not just one type of housing, Evan Rose, a Lennar design consultant, said.
More than 75 percent of the commercial space would be light industrial buildings spread along Shea Memorial Drive on the north side of the base. Lennar officials hope to lure biotech manufacturers that offer high-paying jobs.
All homes and businesses would be within two miles of a transportation center on the base that would provide bus service to move people from their homes to their jobs and to the South Weymouth commuter rail station.
A shuttle would circulate every 15 minutes from the so-called Transit Village through the other five villages:
The developer hopes to obtain its water estimated at 1 million gallons per day through a dedicated hookup from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority.
Lennars plan will now undergo months of intense scrutiny from the South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation, the public agency overseeing base redevelopment, as well as from residents and local, state and federal officials.
Tri-Town will negotiate with Lennar for a plan more to its liking, which it hopes to endorse Jan. 1. Then it will go to the three towns.
In order for a new reuse plan to pass, two-thirds of the Weymouth Town Council and two-thirds of voters at town meetings in Rockland and Abington must approve the proposal.
Lennar and Tri-Town are shooting for a spring approval of a new reuse plan.
This truly is a first step in a new journey for us, and I know the board is excited, Tri-Town Chairman Robert Lundquist said, later telling the audience that we have to get the message out. We need to hear from you and you will have a say in the plan.
The current reuse plan, approved in 1998, had a megamall as its centerpiece. It was scrapped in 2000 when residents and officials became wary of the project generating massive traffic and few high-paying jobs.
The new proposal improves on those conditions and others such as open space. Under the Lennar plan, about 72 percent of the site would be open space, including wetlands, parks, recreation fields and the golf course.
Lennar officials said they were surprised by the large turnout at the presentation last night of more than 250 people, who squeezed into a conference center on the base. Tri-Town officials toyed with the idea of moving the meeting to the new Weymouth High School but decided against it.
At one point, Weymouth Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Davis showed up and would only allow someone in if another person left. The capacity for the building is 200 people.
Mark Fontecchio may be reached by clicking here.
The VillagesNorthern Village Center
Townhouses and garden homes around small parks and squares
Apartments and townhouses all within a five-minute walk of the train station and nearby retail shops
Mostly townhouses and single-family homes near public squares, small parks and fields
Townhouses and single-family homes next to the public golf course
Mix of light industrial, research and development, office and recreational buildings along Shea Memorial Drive near the existing Coast Guard housing
On the base
Within 7.5-mile radius of base (including base jobs)
Temporary construction jobs
Weymouth: $5.1 million
Rockland: $4.7 million
Abington: $1.3 million
Source: Lennar Partners. Estimates are in 2004 dollars.
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