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STONEHAM, MA-The developer of the Stoneham Executive Center has been dealt a blow from the state’s environmental affairs office: the Gutierrez Co.’s final environmental impact report on the proposed 914,000-sf project was ruled inadequate. The Burlington, MA-based developer will have to file a supplemental final environmental impact report if it wants to move forward with the project.

The ruling is yet another setback in what has turned out to be a long process to get this project off the ground. The developer underwent nearly three years of public meetings and numerous revisions to get to this last stage of approval. Arthur J. Gutierrez Jr., vice president of Gutierrez Co. did not return calls by deadline, but he was confident that the project would be approved by the state when he spoke to GlobeSt.com a few weeks ago, right after his company submitted its report.

The project involves the redevelopment of the 41-acre former Boston Regional Medical Center and consists of 914,000 sf of medical and office space. The existing 110,000-sf medical office building would remain operational, the existing 250,000-sf hospital building would be reused for office space, and a 14,000-sf accessory building would continue in use. In addition, the developer proposes to construct three new office buildings totaling 540,000 sf.

The project has encountered opposition from the start with concerns over its size, its impact on traffic and environmental issues. In her report, Ellen Roy Herzfelder, the environmental affairs secretary, says that “the project as currently designed has not adequately addressed my continued concerns with regard to the significant volume of traffic that this development will generate and the associated impacts to the historic parkways and open spaces of the Middlesex Fells Reservation.” She notes that she received more than 3,000 comments on the final environmental impact report for this project, most of which focused on the size of the project, traffic generation, and impacts on the area.

In the report, Herzfelder urges the Gutierrez Co. to “examine a reduced build alternative in the [supplemental final environmental impact report] that seeks to avoid and minimize impacts.”

According to Gutierrez’s estimates, the project will provide the town with $1.5 million to $2 million annually in taxes. A town official tells GlobeSt.com that his office has been getting calls from “all over the state” opposing this project. Town meeting voted to rezone the site for an office and medical park more than three years ago.

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