515 Somerville Avenue is located in Somerville, Massachusetts, bounded by Somerville Avenue to the south and Laurel Street to the east. The site is currently an abandoned brownfield with future plans for development. It is currently owned by a developer who is looking to sell the property. The site is 1.47 acres and situated along a commercial corridor between Union Square and Porter Square in a densely populated, mixed use neighborhood. The size, position and location of the site make it an ideal location for a landmark building that will help define this area of Somerville. With the green line extension coming into Somerville within the next few years, the site has a lot of potential to be a profitable investment.
515 Somerville Avenue is located along a commercial corridor in a densely populated residential neighborhood. With the new zoning, it is a great opportunity for a mixed use development. The site is located in close proximity to four universities; Lesley University, Harvard University, Tufts University and MIT. Although there are many restaurants, cafes and grocery stores in the area, there is a lack of healthy food options in the site’s vicinity and the closest fitness center to the site is in Porter Square. The median demographic of Somerville is fairly young and less than half of the city’s residents are family households and more than half of the city’s residents live in rental units.
We would like to propose a mixed use project that combines retail space, a fitness center, rental housing and communal green space that focuses around the theme of “healthy living.” Ideally the retail spaces would have tenants that are within the healthy living theme, such as cafes and restaurants that have healthy organic food options. There would be one larger anchor tenant for a healthy grocery shopping option such as Harvest Food Store of Trader Joe’s. The fitness center would service the tenants on the site as well as the surrounding neighborhood. With Conway Park close by, it also has the potential to work in conjunction with a larger fitness network. There is a high demand for student housing in the area given the site’s proximity to so many universities. The rental housing component of our project will be at market rate and target students, visiting faculty and young professionals, mainly residents between the ages of 18-44, which make up 58.5% of the city’s population. The outdoor green space and roof garden will be attractive features for the housing units. The project will become a landmark in the area through a strong unifying theme of “healthy living” and a design that is simple yet unique in massing and sensitive to its context.