Route 128, which has been called America’s Technology Highway, is home to many high-tech companies big and small. Our neighbors to the south and north have continued to attract tech companies and grow their commercial tax bases by building commercial office space as well as developing ancillary commercial properties (such as bars, restaurants, and hotels) along this artery. Here are some examples:
In addition to increasing tax revenue, commercial office space brings with it far fewer problems than massive residential developments. So why is it that, on one of the few remaining pieces of land in Newton zoned for commercial development, Northland proposes such a residential-heavy development instead? Just down the street from an Avalon development that is 294 apartments (where rent for a 2-bedroom starts at $2,945/month).
Perhaps it is because Northland has billed its rental-apartment-heavy proposed development as the creation of a vibrant “new Village,” but the reality is that Northland is building within two existing villages: Upper Falls and Newton Highlands. Overwhelming these two villages with a “mini-city” of 8-story buildings and foregoing a large chunk of commercial real estate taxes at the same time seems counter-intuitive.
Perhaps it is because Northland’s investors prefer to invest in residential properties (Northland owns and manages 91 properties, 76 of which are residential, and of the remaining 15 commercial properties 7 are the parcels it owns on Needham street).
The truth is, we don’t know. But we think this is a good question to ask.