A Troubling Development

…if you’ll excuse the pun.

In the mail a couple days ago I received an invitation to a “neighborhood meeting” on my street, sponsored by a real estate developer planning to build a large new apartment building just down the street from me.For those familiar with Watertown, I live on Grove St., right between Kondazian and Coolidge Hill. The Hanover Company is inviting, I guess, everyone in this immediate area to a meeting at the Atrium School next Thursday to discuss their proposal for this apartment building; I’m not sure where they currently are in the process of getting this started. They want to tear down the old Aggregate Industries building on the corner of Grove and Coolidge Hill — that is, half a block from my apartment. I took a picture of the flyer they sent, with its artist’s rendition of the proposed apartment building, but it ended up quite dark, so I’m not going to post it until I can try taking a better shot, or hooking up my scanner. However, at their website, if you click “Portfolio” and then “In Development,” you can find a slightly cropped image of the artist’s rendition, called “Watertown Grove”.

Now, it’s a nice little picture, and a nice looking proposed building, especially the façade on Grove St. But even aside from the prospect of lengthy construction virtually next door, I’m dubious of the merits of this proposal. The Grove/Coolidge Hill/Kondazian area feels like a cozy, slightly worn little neighborhood to me, even though I’ve only lived here three months, and I don’t think a large, expensive apartment building fits the character of the area well.

I also think the artist’s rendition is deceptive: the perspective and foreshortening give the impression that there’s more space there than there actually is, as anyone familiar with that corner will know. The car on Coolidge Hill, for example, should be depicted at nearly full size, given how far it is up the road. I have no idea how they think they’ll be able to fit a building as large as that in the area they’re proposing to put it in at all, let alone without dominating the area completely. And, as has already been discussed on H2otown, the Grove St.-Coolidge Hill Rd. area is already in less than stellar shape, parking-and-traffic-wise. I can’t imagine this is going to help that.

Well, I’ll go to this meeting of theirs, but I don’t guess I’m going to be real impressed with what they have to say. (Not to mention, adding insult to injury, it’s not even a local developer, but a company based in Texas. Sheesh!) I did say I wanted to get more involved locally, so I guess this is as good a time as any.

If any other Watertown residents have found their way over here from H2otown (or by other means, of course!) I’d be interested to hear additional opinions on this.


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