Trade Center Park back before Planners

WOBURN - The Planning Board is expected to continue its hearing Tuesday night on a request for a total of 550,000-square-feet of new office space in a pair of 7-story buildings at the Trade Center Park site in North Woburn.

The Planning Board will have the final say on what is approved and the City Council will be acting in an advisory role. The Planning Board meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Engineering Room (lower level) of City Hall.

The Planning Board opened the public hearing on the proposal from Cummings Properties at a public hearing Sept. 12 with traffic being the main concern.

According to Cummings officials, a 5-story parking garage would separate 150,000-square-feet of office space in one 7-story building with phase two including the construction of a second 7-story building with 400,000-square-feet of office space.

Stating the buildings would become "the flagship" for Cummings Properties, officials promised a quality development the city could be proud of and the generation of more than $500,000 a year in new taxes.

The new office space would join the current two-story structure with 140,000-square-feet of space on the 17.9-acre lot off Sylvan Road, facing Route 128 off Main Street in North Woburn.

Noting the building would generate some 6,000 vehicle trips a day, Cummings officials promised at least $800,000 in traffic improvements to the Main Street corridor between Elm Street and Alfred Street and the Route 128/Main Street rotary.

At the last meeting at least two Planning Board members and some members of the audience suggested a more detailed traffic study including intersections further north (up to School Street) and south (back to Central Square) on Main Street as well as the intersection of Sylvan Road/Beacon Street and Winn Street in Burlington.

Traffic impacts on residential neighborhoods like Pearl Street and Elm Street were also discussed with additional information being sought.

Back in the late 1990s, Cummings Properties successfully appeared before the Planning Board seeking to subdivide the Trade Center Park parcel, paving the way for the current proposal, attorney John McElhiney, representing Cummings Properties, said.

At that time, Stop & Shop officials were seeking approval for an updated supermarket, and plans approved included upgrades to the Main Street, Elm Street, Sylvan Road corridor.

Now, at least an additional $800,000 more in traffic work would be done including the addition of a second turning lane into and out of the shopping center at Main Street, Cummings officials said.

It was also noted that driving this request forward at this time is a three- to five-year temporary agreement with the Middlesex County Superior Court to house its facilities while the Cambridge location is rebuilt. The Superior Court would occupy a good deal of the 150,000-square-foot wing of the new construction.

Because the zoning for this project and the subdivision request dates back to the late 1990s, the Planning Board will have the final say on the plans with the City Council acting in an advisory role.

At the public hearing several neighbors cited concerns with traffic, adequate buffers, and security, while several others spoke to the fine track record of Cummings Properties.

© 2000 Woburn Daily Times Inc.