The refinements include:
- Several buildings were made smaller.
- Moving a parking garage underground
- Relocating the proposed community building away from Tower Road and closer to the Depot Café and Greenway
- Adding a distinct entryway and expanding the village green.
- Adding more open space
- Reducing retail space (the biggest driver of traffic) from 185,200 sf net to 115,000 sf net.
- Reducing the number of housing units from 822 to 800 but keeping the originally proposed 123 affordable units.
Northland’s project stretches from the corner of Oak and Needham Streets to Tower Road and over to the Newton Upper Falls Greenway near Chestnut Street. While most of the existing structures would be demolished, the Saco-Pettee building, the historic brick mill complex that most recently was home to the Clarks USA shoe company, would be renovated to hold 180,000 square feet of office space.
The development would center around a village green offering just under an acre of open space. But the most significant part of the plan are plans to fund a shuttle bus system operated by the 128 Business Council that would be open to public use at stops along four routes.
- The Newton Circulator: Providing connections to MBTA’s Green Line at Newton Highlands and Newton Center and the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line at the Newtonville station every 30-45 minutes, depending on the day and time of day
- The Needham Commuter: Would shuttle between the project site and the Needham Heights Station of the MBTA’s Needham commuter rail line every 30-45 minutes during the AM and PM commuting peaks; it would not operate middays
- The Cambridge Express: Would travel to and from Kendall Square and Central Square in Cambridge every 60 minutes.
- The Boston Express: Would provide service daily to the South Boston Seaport District and South Station every 60 minutes
The Newton City Council is expected to vote on the project later this year.