MELROSE, MA-Fidelity Investments has proposed developing its first residential development in the US here on Main Street on a 15-acre parcel of Fidelity-owned land that crosses over into Malden.

The company’s plan calls for a 579-unit luxury complex with a 20,000-sf retail component. According to Denise Gaffey, acting director at the office of planning and development here, the project needs a special permit to receive approval as the site is under three different zoning restrictions. The bulk of the property, notes Gaffey, is in a commercial zone that would allow for a mixed-use project with a special permit, which Fidelity is applying for.

Other special permits include a request to the town to cut back on the parking-space requirements. The city requires 800 parking spaces for a development of this size. But if Fidelity were allowed to cut back to 600 spaces it would not have to use any above ground space for parking. The company is basing its request on the fact that the complex is within walking distance of an MBTA station making it a transit-oriented complex. The three acres of the site that is in Malden is zoned for its proximity to the MBTA station and has less onerous parking requirements because of that designation.

Gaffey tells that Fidelity has formally applied to the city’s planning board and is currently involved in a series of public hearings. The local response has been mixed, says Gaffey. “There been some favorable responses but there are concerns,” she points out, “because this is a very big project for this city.” Traffic concerns and density of the project are the sticking points for some local residents.

The city, adds Gaffey, is “favorably predisposed” to the project if issues can be worked out. “If traffic studies indicate that the project will decrease the level of service at certain intersections, they would have to provide mitigation,” she points out. The city is also looking at the possibility of requesting linkage payments from Fidelity. While Melrose does not have a standard linkage payment system for large projects–like Boston has–Gaffey notes that it’s pretty typical to request linkage fees for a development of this size.

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