Green Line expansion creates Somerville surge

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From Charlie Flynn, Boston Research Analyst

From Charlie Flynn, Boston Research Analyst

The MBTA’s ongoing expansion of the Green Line has the potential to change the face of Somerville as we know it.

For those that ride the Green Line on a daily basis, it is known that the trolley’s northern terminus is currently at Lechmere in East Cambridge. After securing a promise of nearly $560 million in federal transportation funding in 2012, the T is now working on a 4.3 mile, two branch expansion that will see the Green Line brought to Union Square in Somerville and to the footsteps of Tufts University in Medford.

By 2019, the year both branch extensions are slated for completion, the percentage of Somerville residents living within walking distance of a T station will jump to 85 percent from just 15 percent today. This has already sent home sales in the city surging, with the price of single family homes up nearly 20 percent from October 2012 to October 2013. Sales of condos are reportedly up 16 percent over the same period according to the Boston Globe.

Development is already starting to take off in Somerville. At the planned Union Square station, a former 3.8-acre metal scrap yard, is poised to become home to 600,000 square feet of new development. This comes on top of Federal Realty’s $1.2 billion mixed-use development at Assembly Row, which is currently under construction. Overall, Somerville administrators project that the planned expansion will ultimately bring 6,000 new housing units to the city by 2030.

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