Robert Korff’s plans are just getting started to redevelop Washington Street’s two mile stretch through the Newton Villages of West Newton, Newtonville and Newton Corner in addition to Riverside in Auburndale according to this Boston Globe article.
His properties now include, in addition to Washington Place, up to 15 acres around Whole Foods, properties behind the West Newton Armory, the Santander Bank Building in West Newton Square and the Riverside Project. His plans include 450 housing units plus 60,000 sq ft commercial behind the armory and the renovation of the bank building for offices including Mark Development. Aside from Washington Place, this is the only project for which Korff has submitted formal plans to city officials, which I haven’t been able to find.
A spokeswoman for Korff declined to comment when asked if he’s interested in the opportunity put forward by Mayor Fuller to sell the Police Station in West Newton.
[The Administration just hired] the Principle Group to do a master study of the corridor. [Mayor] Fuller said this report, which will take more than a year to complete, isn’t just about Korff’s ambitions but will also reflect the kind of development and zoning changes that residents want to see.
“We will have to get input from lots of landowners in the process, not just one who is making a lot of purchases at the moment,” Fuller said.
“It’s too much power in the hands of one private interest,” [City Councilor Emily] Norton said.
Washington Street is a corridor that needs to be reenergized,” said Newton-Needham Regional Chamber president Greg Reibman. “It’s not attractive and doesn’t show Newton’s best face.
Fred Goldstein worries about what Newton will lose, as many of the north side’s classic two-deckers and other affordable apartment options get torn down in the name of progress. [He] was forced to move his old offices from the Orr block after Korff took over. But he didn’t escape Korff’s growing empire for long: He learned earlier this year that Mark Development is acquiring his new building, at 815 Washington St., too.
As always please share your thoughts in the comments. For a constructive dialog hyperbole and personal disparagements are discouraged. Thanks