Photo: Cushing Village.
If you were not listening for it, the announcement would have quietly passed by without much notice.
But the news from the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Sept. 19, that national developer Toll Brothers will sign the purchase and sale agreement to obtain the municipal parking lot adjacent Trapelo and Williston roads on Sept. 30, has brought to an effective end more than three years of delays and controversey that has haunted Cushing Village, the 164,000 sq.-ft. apartment/retail/parking complex set to be built in the heart of Belmont’s Cushing Square.
After a brief unceremonial signing of the documents by the selectmen concerning easement rights and updated land and parking agreements, the town will wait for a check for reportedly $1 million while Toll will soon retain the deed to the property, said Town Consel George Hall.
“This is the light at the end of the tunnel we have been waiting for,” said Belmont Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo.
There was no representative at the signing from Toll Brothers’ Apartment Living subsidiary that will construct and own the property for the Horsham, Penn.-based firm.
It is believed demolition of the existing structures on the site – the former S.S. Pierce & Co. building at the corner of Common and Trapelo and the First National/CVS at Common and Belmont – will proceed within the next two months. Speculation is that Starbucks, which is adjacent to the parking lot and is a key tenant for the new complex, will continue to operate at its location for the time being.
Bill Lovett, a senior development manager at Toll Brothers’ Apartment Living, said in August the earliest date for construction to begin on Cushing Village is late spring of 2017 with a completion date of the summer of 2019.
The development consists of three separate buildings with approximately 38,000 square feet of commercial space, 115 dwellings units – 60 two-bedroom units and 55 one-bedroom unit – and 225 parking spaces including 50 municipal spaces provided as a result of the sale of the municipal parking lot. The development will also include 12 affordable housing units.
After more than two-and-a-half years of delays and broken promises to begin construction, the long-troubled multiuse development was sold in March to Toll Brothers which purchase of the project’s development rights and two land parcels from the original owner, Smith Legacy Partners.
It was Smith Legacy which shepherd the project through an 18-month permiting process, winning the right to build the complex in July 2013. But a failure to find the necessary funding doomed the project for the owner.