Photo: Bill Lovett, senior development manager at Toll’s Apartment Living, speaking to residents.
The demolition of structures on the proposed Cushing Village site will begin next week, according to a Toll Brothers representative speaking at a public meeting held at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
“The big equipment will be mobilizing this Friday and early next week is when the demolition will begin,” said Bill Lovett, a senior development manager at Toll’s Apartment Living before 45 residents who braved the stormy wet weather to discuss a broad range of concerns from what will be done with contaminated soil and groundwater, parking to beautifying the area during the 24 months of construction.
At 164,000 square feet, Cushing Village consists of three separate buildings with approximately 38,000 square feet of commercial space, 115 dwellings units – 60 two-bedroom and 55 one-bedroom units – and 225 parking spaces including 50 public spaces. The development will also include 12 affordable apartments.
Lovett said the former S.S. Pierce & Co. building at the corner of Common and Trapelo and the First National/CVS at Common and Belmont would be brought down away from the streets with the debris placed on the property’s asphalt parking lots before being hauled away.
After the balance of the demolition is complete around March 1, the developer will begin deepwater treatment of the site.
By early April, work will commence on the foundation of the Winslow Building, which is located on the municipal parking lot at Williston and Trapelo roads. Lovett said while the development will take approximately two years to be completed, he expects the Winslow building to be open for ground floor retail occupancy by next summer.
Lovett also addressed a question that many residents had: what would happen to Starbucks during the construction. He said the national coffee cafe has two options; it can attempt to remain opened while work goes on around the shop, or close at some point for the duration of construction. He noted that if Starbucks does shut down, the period of construction will be shortened.
Lovett introduced representatives of SAGE Environmental which will lead the monitoring and cleanup of the soil and groundwater within Toll Brothers’ development plan. The site was once home to dry cleaners as well as a gas station, the municipal parking lot, retail space and a supermarket.
Rick Mandile, a principal at SAGE, told the audience that Toll’s plan is to dig up about 90 percent of the site, upward of 30,000 tons of soil – which less than 10 percent or about 2,700 tons is likely contaminated with chlorinated hydrocarbons such as trichloroethylene – which will be treated before being moved to a landfill.
Working from a 700-page draft Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plan, SAGE’s Molly Cote, a project manager told the residents that groundwater on the site would be treated at the location before being sent into the municipal storm drains, which is allowed by the state.
Lovett said work on the site would occur between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. with workers using a shuttle bus to arrive at the site. He said a plan for parking and bringing in dump trucks to the site are still being formulated.
Several residents raised concerns about the monitoring program of contaminates and the removal of the soil, asking for special care when it is trucked from the location to keep dust under control. The Belmont Board of Selectmen has recently hired a licensed site professional to do a peer review of SAGE’s draft RAM.
Beginning Tuesday, residents have a 20 day comment period to write to SAGE’s senior project manager, Jacob Butterworth (email@example.com) of their concerns and any questions they wish to be answered in the RAM before it is sent to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection for its approval.
John Mattleman of Poplar Street told Lovett that “the little things are big and the big things are big” on a project that requires this level of monitoring and remediation.
“Communications will go a long way as we are now partners in this,” he said.