A 163-unit luxury apartment complex officially broke ground Tuesday and is expected to be completed some time next year, officials said.
State and city officials joined Criterion Development Partners Tuesday at 4080 Mystic Valley Parkway, the 2.1-acre plot formerly a car dealership that is the future home to the four-story housing complex.
"A lot of us who grew up in this neighborhood remember the way it used to be, before the EPA," Mayor Michael McGlynn said Tuesday. "We thought at one time, there would be no opportunities for development here."
Jack Englert, Vice President of Criterion, said the project is expected to be completed in 16 months, and will feature mostly 1- and 2-bedroom units, along with an outdoor swimming pool, courtyard and community space. A total of 10 percent of the units will be dedicated to affordable housing, he said.
Criterion is no stranger to building high-end apartments in Medford. In 2008, it constructed a 222-unit apartment complex at Rivers Edge on Commercial Street.
The new project was first presented to the city in May 2012, and required variances because of it's size. Medford Economic Development Director Lauren DiLorenzo said city zoning laws didn't accomodate such a development, but the developers worked with the city to improve access to nearby recreation and shopping areas, and reduced the bulky appearance of the exterior as part of negotiating for the variances.
"It's one of those areas that a development like this works," she said.
The city is also cashing in on one-time construction fees. It will receive $341,000 in building permit fees, and $541,000 in linkage fees, McGlynn said.
"That's money that's being put back into the community to strengthen it even more," he said.
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki appeared at the groundbreaking as part of a summer long-program to tour communities north of Boston to view current development and prospective development areas.
"We see this as a remarkable place of opportunity," he said.