On all sides of the Wellington Orange Line MBTA station, there’s been major mixed-use real estate developments — River’s Edge to the north, along with Somerville’s Assembly Row and Everett’s Encore Boston Harbor casino and resort on either side of the Mystic River.
But Wellington Station itself is a sea of surface parking lots and transportation infrastructure. Now that’s set to change.
The city of Medford in September issued a request for information for city-controlled air rights above 28 acres of MBTA-owned land at Wellington Station, a site fronting the Mystic River and the Dana Bridge that connects Medford and Somerville. Eight development teams have submitted responses, the city said this week: Able Co., Greystar Real Estate Partners, The HYM Investment Group, New England Development, Preotle Lane & Associates, QuakerLane Capital, RISE Together, and The Davis Cos.
The city — which plans to eventually release the responses publicly — said the developers generally pitched mixed-use districts with apartments, hotels, commercial offices, and public open space.
“The proposals also highlighted unique features of the site, such as extensive waterfront access, location on the burgeoning Orange line corridor, and uninterrupted views of the Boston skyline, as assets that make it one of the premier redevelopment opportunities in the metro region,” the city said in a release.
The air rights site is split along the MBTA track into two parcels — a 17.3-acre West Parcel, and a 10.75-acre East Parcel — and sits above commuter parking and a host of MBTA infrastructure, including staff parking and equipment storage, a signal tower, a maintenance and repair shop, storage yards, and the train station itself. Any project would have to accommodate a future electric bus maintenance facility, the MBTA said.
The city’s new master plan, a draft of which was released this summer, identified the East Parcel in particular as a priority development area. The area around the station “has been identified by the community as a place for higher density development, more employment and mixed-use opportunities, and community amenities,” the city said in its September RFI, adding that “new development should reflect the community’s goals for climate, affordable housing, mobility, recreation, entertainment and arts.”
Medford officials have tapped real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield to help evaluate the responses. In a statement, Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said the city was “thrilled” by the response.
“This proves that Wellington Station has the potential to be a destination for residents and visitors to live, work, and enjoy, instead of being used solely as a giant parking lot for buses and trains,” Lungo-Koehn said. “I’m focused on seizing this opportunity to boost our city’s commercial tax base and create much needed transit-oriented housing and development.”
After the city evaluates their initial responses, developers will be invited to submit formal proposals.