Bradford [Ex-Cushing Village] Update: Purple Water? That’s OK; Starbucks Winding Down

Photo: A big purple hole in the ground.

As the digging on the future home of Cushing Vill … sorry, The Bradford is speeding along on schedule, more than one resident who spied into what will become the foundations of the three buildings making up the 164,000 sq.-ft. complex of apartments, stores, and parking in Cushing Square was taken aback by the rather strange purplish hue to the ground water and soil in the pit.

Did the contractor Nauset Construction find something no one was expecting to discover?

One person who did take notice was the Otto Weiss, the project manager for Toll Brothers Apartment Living, the Bradford’s owner/developer.

“[Y]ou may notice that the color of the treated soil and any surrounding water is clearly purple,” said Otto Weiss, the project manager for Toll Brothers Apartment Living, the Bradford’s owner/developer.

What nearby neighbors had noticed was just what the team was expecting to find.

“This is a normal reaction of the treatment process and is not a cause for alarm,” noted Weiss in an email project update.  

“I realize you may have questions and as always I will do my best to answer,” said Weiss, who can be contacted at

Weiss said the treatment process that was approved earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will take about one more week to complete, at which time the site will undergo several weeks of testing and approvals before the removal of the soil.  

Ongoing air testing and monitoring continues uninterrupted, “and to date we have not seen any results that cause concern,” said Weiss.

The signs the popular Starbucks cafe, located on Trapelo Road in the middle of the active construction site, is winding down operations is literally on its doors. A pair of notices referred customers to big changes to the hours of operations – the store will close at 5 p.m. starting May 22 and at noon a week later on May 29 – and a “thank you” note to customers are located at both entrances and inside the not so busy store.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding as we prepare for this store to close,” said Store Manager Matthew Thompson.

No closing date has been provided. Toll Brothers said a new Starbucks will be opening in the early fall of 2018 in the “Winslow” building which is located on the former municipal parking lot.

So Long, Cushing Village; Say Hello to ‘The Bradford’

Photo: Otto Weiss, the “Bradford’s” project manager.

A sly smile crossed Bill Lovett’s face like he had a secret he wanted so badly to tell.

So he did.

Lovett, a senior development manager at Toll’s Apartment Living which owns the 168,000 sq.-ft. apartment/retail/parking complex set to be built in the heart of Belmont’s Cushing Square told the 40 residents who flocked to the Belmont Gallery of Art on Thursday afternoon, April 27, came to hear the latest on the project, that a significant change had occurred in the development.

The name. Goodbye to Cushing Village, the moniker was first given the project nearly a decade ago by the project’s initial development team.

Welcome to Belmont: “The Bradford.”

“Like the pear or tree,” said Lovett, likely referring to the Bradford pear tree, the ornamental fruit tree known for its snowy white spring blossoms and sweet smell that lasts for a quite a long time.

“Hold your applause,” said Lovett, as the residents reacted rather nonplus to the announcement. 

Oh well.

Lovett, who was joined in the meeting by Otto Weiss, the project manager, and architect Peter Quinn, said the name change was proposed by the project’s marketing team to provide a new image to the project. 

Apparently, the marketing team didn’t know of the tree’s increasingly horrific reputation among garden club enthusiasts, city planners, and arborists, all who have increasingly come to hate the Bradford with a passion. As the New York Times noted last year, “Today, the Bradford pear may be the most despised tree in this part of the world.”

Apart from the name change, most of the news that came from the Toll Brothers team were updates on the construction of the three building project and minor alterations to the development.

Regarding development, Weiss told the audience that the excavation of the municipal parking lot adjacent to Starbucks and Trapelo Road would begin Monday, May 1 and last three to four weeks.

After the digging is finished, laying of the foundation for the retail/residential building known as the Winslow will begin. Simultaneously, the evacuation of the former CVS/First National site (dubbed the Hyland) will commence, said Weiss. That location will house a portion of the parking garage.

Currently, the project area, which has the appearance of a strip mine, is undergoing “dewatering” as the ground water is being decontaminated on the site before being released into the public system. The soil is also being treated and being sent to offsite locations. 

Once all the necessary regulatory “is are dotted and ts crossed” construction will begin in earnest with the Winslow being completed and ready for both residential and commercial occupancy in July/August of 2018. It will also be the new home of Starbucks, the only retail lease the firm has signed so far.

The Hyland is scheduled to be open in December 2018, with the centrally located Pomona building, which includes 20,000 sq.-ft. of retail, opening in June 2019. The development is expected to be fully occupied and all detail work finished by the first day of 2020.

(As an aside, Lovett said other than the Winslow, the names of the two other buildings could be given new names. “We didn’t want to call them Building 1,2,3. But there could be changes in Phase 2.”)

In other news concerning the Bradford:

  • The number of apartment units in the three buildings has been decreased from 115 to 112, and the total number of bedrooms have fallen by ten as the units have slightly increased in size in some locations. 
  • Changes have been made to exterior design features on each of the buildings – larger, more prominent windows, new material, removal of some architectural segments – “but we have not increased the size or scope of the building as noted in the Special Permit,” said Lovett.
  • The rooftop area on the Winslow has been removed, leaving only the Hyland to have a common area on its roof for residents. But don’t expect to see wild, 20-somethings partying hardy on the deck as “those elements” do “in Alewife or East Cambridge” noted Lovett. “It’s going to be a different feel” at the Bradford, “a more refined” lifestyle from a “different demographic.” 
  • The rents for units have not been set “as it will adjust to the market” with the opening of each building. 
  • Parking for construction workers will be provided off-site.
  • While it’s a certainty that Trapelo Road will need to be dug up to supply utilities to the project, all repair work to the roadway will be extensive including milling and resurfacing an entire segment of the street. 
  • When asked if bars or other alcohol-related businesses could go into the 34,000 sq.-ft. of retail space, Lovett said commercial areas are condominiums like the rental units and “we’re very restrictive on retail uses.” 
  • Yes, dogs and cats will be welcomed in Cushing Vil …. oops, The Bradford.

Toll Bros Update of Cushing Village Development Thursday, April 27

Photo: Under construction.

The developer of the Cushing Village project now under construction in Cushing Square will hold a public meeting this week to provide residents an update on where the development is at and where it is going.

Toll Brothers Apartment Living, the apartment development division of Toll Brothers, Inc., the nation’s premier builder of luxury home, is hosting the meeting on Thursday, April 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Belmont Art Gallary on the third floor of the at the Homer Municipal Building

Toll Brother officials will discuss the status of the project and construction schedule. The Cushing Square project calls for construction of three mixed-use buildings, which will include retail space on the ground floor and 115 apartments above.

Cushing Village Update: Dig, Dig, Dig; Starbuck Around ’til July 4th?

Photo: Diggin’ it in Cushing Square.

Dig this … which is exactly what construction crews are doing on the proposed site of Cushing Village, according to developer Toll Brothers.

In his monthly update, Otto Weiss, the project manager for Toll Brothers’ Apartment Living division which is building the 168,000 square foot development in the heart of Cushing Square, said the project was on the ground as the site was being prepared for the building of the foundations for the three-building complex.

Current site activities include:

  • Moving dewatering equipment onto the location along Trapelo Road where they will begin the dewatering the soil on the week of April 3
  • The pavement in the former municipal parking lot and the foundations of the old buildings along Common Street has been removed.
  • Public comments and responses to the company’s Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plan have been uploaded to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Next up for the project include:

  • Excavation and soil removal in the former parking lot will begin in a week or two.
  • Detailing the architectural plans continues during the coming months.
  • Foundation construction for the Winslow Building – located on the municipal lot –  will begin in the Spring.

As for the last tenant on site, Starbucks will remain open until late Spring/early Summer this year, according to Weiss. 

Cushing Village: Demolition of Structures Completed, Dewatering To Begin

Photo: The site of the future Cushing Village.

The future location of Cushing Village has been cleared of the former buildings, and in-ground work will begin in the next few days, according to an update from a spokesperson for Toll Brothers, the developer of the 164,000 square foot multi-use project.

Otto Weiss, the project manager for Toll Brothers Apartment Living which is building Cushing Village, reported the first major phase of the project had been completed with the demolition of all but one of the structures at the construction site at the corner of Common Street and Trapelo Road.

The only remaining building is the one housing the Starbucks Cafe. But that will be tumbling down in about three months.

“We expect Starbucks will remain open until late spring [or] early summer this year,” said Weiss.   “The date of the closing has not yet been established.”

Next up will be the placement of dewatering equipment which is already placed along Trapelo Road. It will be used to remove the ground water to allow for the construction of the garages and foundations of the three buildings to be constructed at the site.

And the first building to be excavation and the foundation construction will be for the Winslow Building which will be built on the former municipal parking lot. That will take place in the late spring. 

In other news, the firm anticipates to be responding to public comments to the Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plan in early March and uploading the plan to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection once these comments have been addressed, said Weiss.

Once the RAM Plan is uploaded to DEP, “we anticipate further excavation will begin. We anticipate this work will start by mid-March.”

Cushing Square’s New (Temporary) Skyline As S.S. Pierce Building Tumbles

Photo: Open space in Cushing Square.

For 102 years, the prominent three-story brick and frame building stood at the corner of Common Street and Trapelo Road, home for much of that time of the Belmont branch of the S.S. Pierce grocers.

On Monday, Feb. 20, the century-old Cushing Square landmark came tumbling down as the Cushing Village development prepares to move forward with the first major construction event, the excavation of the foundation and parking garage at the 164,000 square-foot project.

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The demolition of the two-story building designed by architect H. Thaxter Underwood – who also designed the Police Station and the demolished Underwood Pool Bathhouse and the first Chenery Middle School – was set for the Presidents’ Day holiday to limit traffic and parking disruptions as the large excavators pulled down the building away from the intersection.

The only business remaining at the site is Starbucks in the former Friendly’s restaurant. It is scheduled to close in the next few months to allow for the construction of the building on the former municipal parking lot. That structure – which will house a new Starbucks – will be completed by the early summer of 2018. 

It’s Official: Spokesperson Says Cushing Square Starbucks is Closing

Photo: Closed … for now.

It’s the least best-kept secret in Belmont: the popular Starbucks Cafe in the heart of Cushing Square is closing.

If the reduction of parking and pedestrian access which dramatically reduced business wasn’t enough of a clue that the store would struggle as the construction of the 164,000 square foot multi-use Cushing Village development is built around the store, staff members have told customers that the store would be closing “soon” as reported by the Belmontonian a fortnight ago.

And now word has come from Seattle that makes what is already known, official.

“We can confirm that our store at 112 Trapelo Rd. in Belmont will close in the coming months while the building undergoes a large-scale redevelopment,” said a spokesperson from the Starbucks Media Relations Team in an email sent to the Belmontonian.

But the shutting of the doors at 112 Trapelo Rd. will not be the end of the coffeeshop’s presence in the neighborhood.

“We look forward to re-opening when construction is complete,” said the statement “and in the meantime, we invite customers to visit our partners (employees) at one of our nearby locations.”

Toll Brothers, the developer of Cushing Village, stated that a new store could be up and running in the project’s Winslow Building located at the site of the former municipal parking lot by the summer of 2018.

Last Call for Lattes: Cushing Sq. Starbucks Reported to Close ‘Soon’

Photo: Starbucks in Cushing Square.

When you’re hunting for a cool iced caramel macchiato this summer, you’ll no longer have Starbucks in Belmont’s Cushing Square as a destination. 

According to associates who spoke to worried customers and the Belmontonian, the busy store located at 112 Trapelo Rd. will be shutting its doors “soon, in the next couple of months.” 

“Oh, no. What will happen to you,” said a customer when learning the news while purchasing a latte.  

While staff associates were happy to tell customers that the store would close, none would go on the record.

An email on the store’s closing to Nicole Smith, Starbuck’s district manager who oversees the Cushing Square store, has not been returned.

In statements to staff members, the decision to shut the popular site was due to the coming construction of Cushing Village, the 164,000 sq.-ft. multi-use project being built on three parcels in the heart of Cushing Square including the spot Starbucks is located.

Demolition of the site has begun with the tearing down of the former CVS/First National Building at the corner of Common Street and Belmont Avenue. 

According to a Cushing Square business owner, what clinched the decision was the drastic reduction of parking at the store. The municipal parking space adjacent to the store was closed to the public two weeks ago while the store’s own parking lot has been squeezed to less than a dozen spots.

With on-the-street parking to be limited due to construction in early April of the foundation of the first building – dubbed the Winslow – it was inevitable the store needed to be shut down.

The closing of the popular coffee stop will be felt in the square, said Chris Benoit, owner of the Spirited Gourmet on Common Street. 

“It is a big draw so its closing would be another hit to businesses that are struggling,” said Benoit three weeks ago at a public meeting on the future of the project. 

But there is an upside for coffee lovers.  Bill Lovett, the senior development manager at Toll’s Apartment Living who is managing the project told the previously mentioned public meeting that if Starbucks closed in the spring, the construction of the Winslow, which will house a new, expanded store, could be completed earlier than the anticipated summer 2018 date. 

In addition, the associates were telling customers that the store would be holding a “going away party” for its loyal customers. 

Cushing Village Demolition Begins Next Week; Residents Concern on Process

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.


SAGE’s team: Rick Mandile (left), Molly Cote, and Jacob Butterworth.

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 ( 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.

Town To Peer Review Toll Bros. Plan To Clean Cushing Village Land

Revised on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to update status of RAM material.

Photo: A public meeting Tuesday will discuss how the land of the future Cushing Village be cleaned to allow construction to begin.

The Belmont Board of Selectmen voted Monday, Jan. 24, to hire an environmental firm to peer review the state-approved plan developer Toll Brothers will use to clean the contaminated property where the 167,000 sq.-ft. Cushing Village project will be built.

The remediation plan along with an initial schedule for the project will be presented at a public meeting scheduled for tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Beech Street Center. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.

Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo said he and some residents felt it would be prudent for the town to have an independent licensed site professional (LSP) conduct “a town-sponsored review” of the developer’s Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plan. The plan details the environmental contaminates in the property located in the heart of Cushing Square and how the firm’s contractors will remediate the land, so it is safe to build the three building development. 

An LSP oversees the assessment and cleanup of contamination property. More information on what an LSP does can be found at the LSP Association website.

The plan details the environmental contaminates in the property located in the heart of Cushing Square and how the firm’s contractors will remediate the land, so it is safe to build the three building development. 

Besides retail stores, a supermarket and a municipal parking lot, the property also was one home to dry cleaners.

The draft Cushing Village RAM will be sent to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection by Toll Brothers’ LSP after the 20-day comment period. It would then take a week for the state to approve the RAM.

“I’d like [Belmont’s LSP] to look at the RAM” that will occur during a state-mandated 20-day comment period that starts when the plan is presented to residents and business owners Tuesday night, said Paolillo.

While the state prohibits additional language or requirements from being added to the abatement plan, Toll Brothers “have expressed to [the town] it wants to be collaborative” and would seriously consider concerns from the town’s professional, said David Kale. Belmont town administrator. 

“The RAM is what the RAM is,” said Paolillo, “we just want to provide our comments.”