When will this new neighborhood open?
This new neighborhood is set to open in 2022 if all goes on schedule. We anticipate starting construction in 2019.
How tall are the buildings and how many units will there be?
The maximum height we are proposing is similar to the height of the ArcLight Theater—about 85 feet. In the phase we are considering now, we’ll be adding 170,000 square feet of retail and 360 residential units.
Will these be rentals or condominiums?
The new neighborhood will most likely feature rental units. There will be definitely be a mix of unit sizes, but it is too early in the process to provide more specifics.
What retailers will you bring?
We have exciting plans for a mix of retail including some high-end shops, fine dining, a luxury health club and wellness center, all within walking distance of the neighborhood.
What is this replacing at the mall?
Sears is leaving, which gives us the opportunity to enter this next phase. We will remerchandise some areas of the mall with newer tenants, but the majority of the mall tenants will remain and we will enhance the mix in the expansion areas.
What will this do to parking?
There will be enough parking for everyone. And it’s in our interest to ensure plenty of parking as part of our business model. Our standard parking ratio at Westfield Montgomery, as well as Wheaton and Annapolis, is four spaces per 1,000 square feet of retail. Our new plans include one parking space per dwelling unit.
Given the potential for shared parking between retail and residential, the presence of the transit center, and new driving behaviors such as ride-sharing, we are confident that is sufficient.
Will this make the shopping center more congested?
The shopping center is not congested. There are about five days during the holiday season when we post additional staff to direct traffic, but other than that, traffic is free-flowing throughout the site. We don’t expect that this next phase will create congestion. With the enhancements we’ll be making, we will actually improve the traffic flow, as we’re planning new pedestrian walkways, and adding in traffic-calming measures.
How do the traffic counts for this plan compare to what you already have approved?
The number of trips is even less than what Park and Planning approved in the 2012 traffic study. Retail patterns are different than residential patterns. We are in the process of conducting a new traffic study that will bear this out.
Are you building any new streets?
Yes, we’ll be adding interior roads and connections, including an internal “woonerf” which is a Swedish term that represents a thoroughfare, lined with shops, cafes and restaurants, that can equally accommodate vehicles and pedestrians.
Ashburton is already overcrowded and in moratorium. How can you proceed with your plans?
We can’t proceed with the residential portion of our plans while the area is in moratorium. We understand that the Planning Board cannot consider the application until there is capacity.
How will the current residents be impacted by construction?
It’s too soon to talk about details of construction as we’re still in the approval process. We will continue to work closely with the community to ensure we minimize any potential impact. We’ll have specific plans addressing pedestrian safety and access to the transit center.
How has the community responded so far to news of your plans?
Over the last 10 years, we have focused on sharing our plans with our neighbors and they have been very supportive. We recently met with the leaders of the homeowners associations and civic associations closest to the Westfield Montgomery. We’ve shared our plans with them, and both parties have agreed to work closely with each other as we move forward. We’re looking forward to partnering with the community again on this exciting next phase.
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