Is Westwood the future of redevelopment?
It's not as if these 130 acres lie vacant; rather, they house a mostly abandoned industrial park and around 20 buildings, making up about 1 million square feet will be torn down to create Westwood Station.
Why is this project worth hearing about? In many aspects, it mirrors the Natick Mall expansion strategy of combining retail and residential components together. Just as the Natick Mall expansion is expected to contain a link between LIFT and Natick Neighborhood Bus services, the Westwood project is based around the presence of MBTA access. Yet as General Growth is eyeing residents interested in "luxurious living", Westwood Station is targetting to a middle-class family with a breadwinner who works in downtown Boston.
There is are differences between the Natick and Westwood projects, but their success will likely determine the future of combined residential/retail projects in suburban portions of the region. Successful redevelopments have already been constructed in other parts of the country, including as The Glen in Glenview, IL; and Stapleton in Denver, CO; but not until now has the concept been incorporated into New England.
Redeveloping blighted areas of the state is only set to spread. Plans range from government controlled areas including the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Weymouth, Abington, and Rockland; to urban areas such as the Worcester Common Outlets (to become "City Square") in Worcester and the Assembly Square area of Somerville. The expected success of Natick and Westwood could only be the catalyst to future projects.