No Deal as Selectmen Await Financing Proof From Cushing Village Developer

Photo: An earlier version of the building that will be built at the community 

Not yet.

Despite taking out demolition permits and hiring a Needham-based firm to take down the abandoned buildings, the developer of the proposed Cushing Village multi-use complex still doesn’t hold the deed for the commuter parking lot at Williston and Trapelo roads of the $80 million project as the Belmont Board of Selectmen has yet to see a finalized financial package they can be comfortable.

“The Board is not prepared to vote on the sale of the parking lot at this time,” said Belmont Town Administrator David Kale told the Belmontonian, after the Selectmen met with Town Counsel George Hall for nearly an hour in executive session. 

Currently, a partnership of original developer Chris Starr and Urban Spaces of Cambridge are attempting to put together a financing package for the development which will bring 115 units, 38,000 sq.-ft. retail space and 235 parking spaces to three parcels at the corner of Common Street and Trapelo Road in the heart of Cushing Village. 

The price tag for the parking lot adjacent Starbucks – set six years ago when the parcel went out to bid  – is $850,000; along with fees and permits, the final price is closer to $1.3 million.

While unable to go into detail on a possible agreement, the leader of the Selectmen said any sale will coincide with a financial package.

“We are going to proceed with the closing of the parking with financing in place. That’s the only prudent way we can move forward,” said Selectmen Chair Sami Baghdady, after the meeting.

Baghdady said in addition to the financing package, there is a land development agreement in which the development team must follow to the letter the 26-page special permit. Starr will also convey to town use 50 parking spaces in the underground parking garage and the creation of a parking management agreement as part of the purchase-and-sale agreement. 

“What I have been told is that those documents are not in final form,” said Baghdady. 

While the development partners have yet to have its financial “Ps and Qs” together, it has moved forward by paying for and pulling a demolition permit, hired a firm and has agreed to ground rules on behavior at the site while deconstruction is underway. 

But Kale said the taking of a permit does not indicate the development team will soon possess a building permit.

“The take out these permits at their own risk,” said Kale.

Due to a “lack of information” during the two years since the special permit was issued on July 29, 2013, the town’s Community Development Office has created a page on its website that will be the library for permits and documents related to demolition and construction. 

“As we reach these milestones, we will post all the supporting information that was required that allowed us to give us the approvals for those particular items,” said Glenn Clancy, the Community Development director. 

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