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The Boston Globe West section ran a story today about the proposed Riverside development, a plan to build 290 new apartments, a 10 story office building, retail space, and a community center at the Riverside train yard.  The project has been years in the works and at this past Wednesday’s Board of Alderman meeting they were close to taking the final vote to approve the project.  The Globe reports:

“I think most of the members of the board have had their questions answered to their satisfaction,” said Hess-Mahan. “We have to work out an amendment that is acceptable to the aldermen and the developer.”

The board seemed close to a vote Wednesday night until [Alderman] Gentile offered an amendment that would require the community center be built before the residential or office buildings could be occupied.

“Earlier today, I was asked what assurance do you have that the community center will ever be built, and that it will in fact be built in a timely manner, and I did not have an answer to that,” said  Gentile. “This amendment is an attempt to make sure that the community center does in fact get built.”

But the developer’s lawyer, Stephen Buchbinder, said the change would be a huge problem, limiting the developer’s ability to finance the project.

“This is a condition that we absolutely cannot accept,” said Buchbinder. “This kills the deal for us.”

I haven’t really been following this project closely, but it jumped out at me as a curious story.  The questions it raised for me include:

* This seems like a big local story with a dramatic 11th hour twist,  I’m surprised that it hasn’t generated any chatter, commenst and opinions.  Nothing here on Village 14.  Over on the Tab blog, there was a post about it, but no comments.

* Why were Alderman Gentiles alarm bells going off about the Community Center at this late date in the process.

* Why is this a “huge problem” and why would it “kill the deal” for the developer?

Does anybody here on Village 14 have any more details to the story?







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