EOT Study Rips Proposed Stadium Development Site
Posted by Mike Marshall on March 19, 2009
In an apparent blow to the Revolution’s hopes of building a soccer stadium in the Inner Belt/Brickbottom district of Somerville, a recently published study from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works has blasted the city’s proposed alternative site for a new Green Line Support Facility.
In a 79-page document dated November 6th, VHP, Inc. and PB Americas, Inc. of Boston concluded that the Inner Belt Road site was “Potentially compatible with Inner Belt development, but otherwise very poor”. The site was found to be lacking in several areas of assessment, including Operational Criteria, Property Impact, Cost and Constructability, Risk to Implementation, and Fatal Flaw Risk.
A separate study released in December of 2008 and funded by Kraft Sports had suggested utilizing the Green Line Support Facility’s air rights to construct a soccer stadium at a site adjacent to Inner Belt Road and north of the MBTA’s preferred location. The suggested alternative site was believed to have earned the support of several influential local businessmen as well as Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
The EOT study initially assessed ten proposed alternatives to the MBTA’s preferred site and quickly narrowed down the field to five that fit all of the Support Facility needs.
While the City’s proposed site made the initial cut, the Inner Belt stadium site scored lowest among the remaining alternatives in terms of Operational Viability. In addition, the study concludes that Inner Belt site would require the taking of 12 acres of land, would cost $60 million more than the MBTA’s preferred site in land acquisition costs, and carries a high risk of delays to the Green Line extension and cost overruns.
The Inner Belt Road site did manage to earn praise for its compatibility with other transportation and land use proposals. The study also praised the site for covering the maintenance facility.
What’s not known at this time is if the concerns raised in the study can be addressed or if perhaps there’s an opportunity for the Revolution and the City to use the air rights of the MBTA’s preferred location. That site, referred to in the study as “Site #10” or “Lot 8 & Adjacent Parcel”, is located south of the site the city had proposed, but close enough to the Brickbottom Gallery that residents voiced their displeasure to EOT officials at a meeting held last week at Somerville High School.
It is also believed that the conclusion of the EOT study could mark the beginning of a public effort on the part of City officials to encourage construction of the soccer stadium.