Sunday, July 14, 2024

Somernova property on Somerville Avenue in Somerville’s Ward 2. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Plans for a giant expansion of the Somernova tech and business campus are being withdrawn.

The reason “is so that we can work with the Union Square Neighborhood Council, city staff and neighbors to revise the proposed Somernova project and respond to comments that have been received,” said Kristin Phelan for the Rafi Investments and Somernova development team in a Saturday email.

“We look forward to continuing to listen to the community and having additional dialogue in the coming months. We intend to file a revised zoning map and text changes this spring,” the developers said, asking residents to stay tuned for an announcement of ways to provide more feedback.

The project pitched Sept. 25 was for a $3.3 billion redevelopment over 10 years of construction at the complex off Somerville Avenue in Ward 2. It would grow to 1.9 million square feet from the current 300,000 square feet by adding 1.1 million square feet of research and development uses; 333,000 of office space; 77,000 of arts and creative enterprise space, 84,200 of retail space; and 80,000 of open space.

Somerville City Council president Ben-Ewen Campen said Friday by social media that the project would be put on hold, adding heft to a widespread understanding that developers had been saying the same.

Chris Dwan, a local policy watcher and activist, said Saturday that he’d refrained from posting about the withdrawal of plans for lack of official confirmation – the change isn’t reflected on the agenda for the Thursday meeting of the council’s Land Use Committee, where Rafi Properties was to present – but even before Saturday’s email the news was spreading. 

“If it’s a fantasy, it’s a really pervasive one,” Dwan said.