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University Station developers await approval

Developers of University Station, a scaled-down version of the failed Westwood Station project at the junction of Route 128 and Interstate 95, say they will be ready to break ground on the first phase of their mixed-use complex as soon as the town gives the OK.

Members of the Westwood Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, and Finance and Warrant Commission met jointly Tuesday to hear details of the new, 2.1 million-square-foot project, to be anchored by the New York-based grocery giant Wegmans and a Target superstore. 

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Both stores are part of the project’s first phase, the developers said.

“This project is less than half the size of the last project,’’ said Douglass E. Karp, a senior vice president of New England Development, one of five partners in the new team. “There is a retail center to be built, and housing and apartments to be built, as soon as we get approval.”

University Station will contain 750,000 square feet of retail space; 500,000 square feet of office space; and 850,000 square feet for a hotel and housing.

Of the 750 housing units, 100 will be marketed to seniors. The remainder will be split between one- and two-bedroom units. Some will be condos, and 15 percent will fall into the affordable-housing category, officials said.

“We have been working diligently with the Planning Board to come up with a plan that the town will like and that is good from a development perspective,’’ said Karp. “We are kind of excited about that.”

The developers said details are likely to change until a final version goes to the town. Residents will vote on new flexible zoning for the 130-acre parcel at a February Town Meeting.

If it passes, shovels could hit the ground immediately with some phases of the development open for business by 2014.

Town Administrator Michael Jaillet said the development team, which also includes Eastern Development, National Development/Charles River Realty Investors, and Clarion Partners, will begin to submit reports on utilities, roads, traffic, and University Station’s financial impact, the latter detailing what the town stands to gain in mitigation payments, taxes, and fees.

He said Tuesday’s meeting was historic because three boards met jointly to review preliminary plans of a major development, and then react together.

“That has never happened before,’’ he said. “It is a major step forward.”

Karp said developers will meet with the Planning Board every week until Christmas to hammer out details.

Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at michelebolton@live.com.

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