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SOMERVILLE, MA-The city’s redevelopment authority has approved a major change to the Assembly Square Revitalization Plan to develop the 145-acre Assembly Square. The city wants to see a mixed-use development on the former largely industrial area and in order to do that it will lay claim to four sites under the law of eminent domain.

According to Sean Fitzgerald, spokesperson for city Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay, the four industrial properties include: Amerigas Propane, which is 22,000-sf; Central Steel, which is 73,000 sf; Spaulding Brick, which is 70,000 sf; and, Green Cab which is 24,000-sf. Fitzgerald tells GlobeSt.com that the city will pay fair market value for the sites, which will be determined by the city’s assessor’s office.

“[The owners of the site] have an option to pursue litigation but we have attempted to reach out to them,” says Fitzgerald. “Land takings are difficult but if the site is going to change from long term industrial to mixed use these properties have to be acquired.” Fitzgerald stresses that the sites are centrally located to the new MBTA stop and he further emphasizes that the plan to redevelop Assembly Square will contribute to the city’s tax base. “The times have changed and the area needs to change with the times,” he adds. Fitzgerald further points out that Taurus New England and Gravistar factored these land takings into their plans when the companies, who are major developers of the Assembly Square area, jointly acquired a nearby site.

The land takings are scheduled to begin within two years and will continue over the next five years. The changes need to be approved by the city’s Board of Aldermen and then by the state.

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