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.