Boston Globe
August 18, 2018
By John Hilliard

Newton residents will have a chance to weigh in on a proposed mixed-use project that
could bring hundreds of residential units and 430,000 square feet of retail and office
space to Upper Falls near the Needham town line.

Northland Investment Corp.’s proposed development would replace most of the existing
buildings on 22.6 acres at the corner of Needham and Oak streets, according to project
documents filed with the city.

On Monday night, the Newton City Council scheduled a public hearing on Northland’s
project for Sept. 25 in the council chambers at City Hall, according to the city clerk’s
office.

The project requires the City Council to approve a zoning change and a special permit to
move forward, according to Barney Heath, Newton’s planning director.

Developers are proposing 822 apartments, including 123 affordable units, plus 193,000
square feet of office space and 237,000 square feet of retail space.

The development also would include 4,000 square feet reserved as community space,
and would create parking spaces for 1,900 vehicles.

The project would retain the existing commercial building at 156 Oak St. that was built in
1900, while the remaining buildings within the project area would be knocked down,
according to the filings.

Northland has already participated in over one hundred meetings with its neighbors,
community groups, and city planners, the company said in a statement to the Globe. “We
are excited to work with the Newton City Council and the community to create a best in
class mixed-use sustainable development,“ the statement said.

Northland also has worked with the state Department of Transportation, Heath said, as
state officials move ahead with a reconstruction project for parts of Needham Street in
Newton and Highland Avenue in Needham.

Heath said city officials have been working with developers to plan out a lengthy process
to review various aspects of the Northland proposal, including fiscal impact,
transportation, and urban design.

“It’s a complex project that is going to deserve a lot of attention,” Heath said.

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