Cambridge's Central Square seems to only drop into the news (or, at least, our purview) when it comes to the ongoing controversy over how tall developer Forest City Ratner can or should build at 300 Mass. Ave. and nearby at Sidney and Green streets. The hullabaloo, in fact, led us to declare the existential development fight that sprung from this controversy to be the Meatiest Debate of 2012 in Hub real estate.
Now comes word, per Greg Turner at The Herald, that more development is on the way for Central Square—maybe a lot more development. Here's what happened: New Jersey-based developer Normandy Real Estate Partners paid $32 million late last year to acquire 15 properties in and around Central owned by the Fennell family, including the Quest Diagnostics building where Mass. Ave. kind of meets Main Street. Normandy then partnered with Twining, the New York concern behind the Watermark in Kendall Square, and, though details are sketchy, it appears the duo has big plans for Central—and an enthusiastic ally in City Hall.
"The city is very excited about the possibilities for the Fennell properties," said Brian Murphy, Cambridge's assistant city manager. "They have a number of very different characteristics ... that I would say are primed for redevelopment." Talk of a "gateway" kind of development for Central is being bandied about for the Quest building ("landmark building" has also come up), as well as development at the other sites acquired in last year's deal. "Mixed-use," too, is being mentioned, meaning it's not all offices/retail/lab space and it's not all apartments. And it's not at all clear how big it might be.
· Curbed Boston Awards '12: Meatiest Debate [Curbed Boston]
· Central's 'Primed for Redevelopment' [Curbed Boston]