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WESTWOOD, MA- The first phase of a 4.5-million-sf, mixed-use project here will get under way today when demolition begins on the 260,000-sf General Motors Parts Distribution Center on Blue Hill Drive.

Testa Corp. of Lynnfield will raze the property, and eventually 11 other buildings along Blue Hill Drive and University Avenue, as developer Cabot, Cabot & Forbes clears the way for Westwood Station. The development is one of the largest mixed-use ventures to be built in the Boston suburbs in years.

“For us, it’s become a grand starting point to show the business community that this is real,” Jed Raymond, project manager on the Westwood Station project for CC&F tells GlobeSt.com.

Raymond says the demolition, which should continue through the winter, will open the area for the construction of 1.25 million sf of retail at the $1.5-billion Westwood Station project. Construction won’t actually begin until CC&F receives a special permit from the town, which should take five to seven months, Raymond says. Once construction is completed on the retail portion of the 130-acre site, located adjacent to Route 128 and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Route 128 station, the offices and residential units will follow.

“The heart of the mixed-use will go in first,” says Raymond, noting that plans call for a pedestrian friendly, transit-oriented environment that will create residential units over storefronts to evoke a village atmosphere. The project’s office segment will be developed based on market demand, he explains.

Raymond says much of the materials from the 12 demolished buildings will be turned into crushed aggregate material which will be used in the new construction, probably in roads and walkways. “We’re going to look at ways to make this an innovative and sustainable project,” he says. “This will really establish a pattern as to how the rest of the project will proceed.”

During the demolition, both Testa Corp. and CC&F will work with a designated community liaison to remain responsive to community concerns, he adds.

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