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State releases $10 million for Assembly Square construction

Posted by Alix Roy  May 4, 2010 04:10 PM

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The state has issued a $10 million loan to support the first round of infrastructure improvements at Assembly Square in Somerville, Governor Deval Patrick announced on Tuesday.

The funds, which were released by the state Development Finance Agency,  will be used primarily for roadway improvements necessary for the future construction of an Ikea store, Patrick said. The first phase of construction is expected to create 500 new jobs, he added.

"Assembly Square is a great project for the Commonwealth, and I am excited to see it moving forward," Patrick wrote in a statement. "This project will put people to work and deliver a host of economic, housing, and community benefits to the region."

The Assembly Square project, located on a 66.5-acre industrial site alongside Route 93 in Somerville, includes plans for a new MBTA Orange Line station and an Ikea store, accessible by a new system of public roadways. The completed mixed-use development will feature 18 buildings, including 2,100 residential units, 1.8 million square feet of office space, and 1.1 million square feet of retail space that includes restaurants, a cinema, and a 160-200 room hotel.

The state's $10 million note is the first issued through its I-Cubed program, which is financed by new state tax revenues generated from private development. According to MassDevelopment's website, I-Cubed funds will be granted to municipalities and developers to fund infrastructure projects that ignite private development and stimulate the economy.

"These funds will allow the City of Somerville to reclaim its waterfront along the Mystic River," said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone in a statement. "The Assembly Square project is critical to the continued growth and vitalization of our community, placing housing, offices, and retail along a stretch of river long blocked off to our residents by highways and heavy industry."

Patrick announced in July that more than $65 million in state bond and federal stimulus funding commitments will support infrastructure improvements at Assembly Square. The construction of Ikea is targeted for completion by the end of 2011.

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