Selectmen Decision on Long-Delayed Cushing Village Set for Monday

Photo: The proposed future home of Cushing Village development. (Google map)

While many residents attending the Belmont Board of Selectmen’s Monday evening meeting, Aug. 17, are coming to see how the three-member council reacts to last week’s Special Town Meeting vote, it’s another decision before the board which will have long-lasting ramifications for town.

Monday will likely see the selectmen decide to accept what insiders are calling a “voluminous” and “complicated” financial plan for the long-delayed multi-purposed Cushing Village project proposed for the heart of Cushing Square at the corner of Common Street and Trapelo Road.

Cushing Village’s development partners Smith Legacy Partners and Cambridge-based Urban Spaces is seeking to construct a three-building complex comprising 115 apartments, about 36,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and a garage complex with 230 parking spaces. It would be Belmont’s largest commercial/housing project in decades.

The selectmen will meet in a “working session” with town officials early Saturday morning before going into a second executive session to discuss the terms for both the sale of the municipal parking lot at Williston Street and Trapelo Road for $850,000 to the partnership as well as their ability to finance the project.

Since winning approval from the Planning Board after an 18-month review, the project has stalled due to several reports that Smith Legacy – the development company which began pursuing the project nearly eight years ago – could not secure commercial financing for the project.

Earlier in the month, the Planning Board extended by 30 days the Special Permit allowing for the construction of the approximately 167,000 square-foot development beyond its two-year limit of Aug. 19.

After paying nearly a quarter of a million dollars in fees to extend its opportunity to purchase the parking lot, Smith Legacy found an equity partner in Urban Spaces in April of this year at which time the stalled project began moving forward.

Yet with distractions including Urban Spaces’ CEO being arrested for soliciting sex on Craigslist and a hurried filing of the proposed financial plan, the selectmen have the options of rejecting the proposal, accept it or tell the partners to clarify and resubmit sections of the proposal. 

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