Taking a major step forward in its efforts to redevelop the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station into a 1.1 million-sf retail and entertainment complex, the Mills Corp. of Arlington, VA has begun the environmental process for the ambitious $250 million project.

Despite opposition from some in the neighborhood, Mills has filed an environmental notification form with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The company expects further instruction on how to proceed to be provided by DEP later this month.

Reuse of the naval base has been a source of constant debate in Weymouth since the installation was closed in the mid-1990s. Although many are voicing concerns about traffic and density, Mills Corp. senior vice resident Terry Fitzgerald pledges that the company will become “a responsible and active member of the South Shore community. It is very exciting to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop a vacated military facility into uses that will benefit the entire region,” says Fitzgerald.

If approved, the 155-acre development will include 325,000 sf of office space and 200,000 sf of mixed commercial uses, as well as the entertainment/retail complex. Mills anticipates that the complex will create more than 4,000 jobs, with 175 stores and 10 entertainment venues and theme restaurants proposed.

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