Friday, May 24, 2024

The first phase of USQ will come to life over the next few months as we open the doors to new residences at 20-50 Prospect St. in Somerville’s Union Square. This is a milestone that highlights our shared commitment for revitalization with the community and City of Somerville. The project will provide desperately needed housing, added commercial opportunities, patrons to businesses and direct access to the new green line MBTA stop. We embrace the community’s vision for Union Square and we hold tightly to our promise to deliver on that vision.

The opening addresses a pressing need for housing in Union Square and the region. It also represents an historic affordable-housing achievement. Upon opening, the project will be home to 450 housing units. Ninety of those units will be permanently affordable across three income tiers. It will be the largest delivery of inclusionary housing in the city’s history. In addition to the onsite affordable units, US2 will contribute $1.5 million to Somerville’s Affordable Housing Trust.

Another key promise we made to the City of Somerville was to make Union Square more accessible by addressing transportation infrastructure. Thanks to the City of Somerville’s dogged persistence, green line trolleys are shuttling back and forth to Boston, making the neighborhood accessible to people of all income levels. For our part, US2 collaborated closely with the MBTA and the city as we directly funded the Union Square Station elevator, the station’s bicycle storage facility, an accessible pathway and an MBTA employee facility.

Additionally, US2 committed more than $6 million to offset the City of Somerville’s financial contribution to the green line extension project and to support the city’s efforts to expand mobility options within the neighborhood.

The creation of public open space in Union Square has been a community priority since our collaboration started in 2014. Early this summer, we will complete the construction of Station Plaza, a pedestrian-first, public open space spanning almost half an acre. We will plant 19 trees to provide shade and comfort to more than 600 feet of planned public seating. To say that we are excited to see the community give this space “life” would be an understatement. In total, we have planned 11 civic spaces within USQ.

By early next year, you will see USQ open its next building at 10 Prospect St. that will add more than 500 permanent life-science jobs to the neighborhood, creating invaluable daytime foot traffic for business and providing economic mobility opportunities local residents.

Behind the scenes, know that we are collaborating with local artists, supporting key community organizations such as Union Square Main Streets, the Somerville Homeless Coalition and public schools and joining in on events such as the farmer’s market and Fluff Fest that make Union Square as special as it is. We take a great deal of pride in being a part of this colorful, historic neighborhood, and we know that the future is even brighter. We are always willing to engage in conversation about our neighborhood. Our offices are in the heart of Union Square (31 Union Square) and our door is always open to members of the community.

Greg Karczewski, US2

The writer is president of Union Square Station Associates, also known as US2, Union Square’s master developer.