The Boston Globe | By Debora Almeida
August 17, 2016
Drive into the vast parking lot at the Arsenal Mall in Watertown, and you’d think you were at any other nondescript shopping center.
But developers are hoping to transform the tired complex into a mixed-use destination where the motto will be “Live-Work-Play.” And instead of staring at sea of asphalt, people will get a direct view of nearby Arsenal Park and the Charles River.
“You pull up and you would never know you were so close to a great park,” said Tom Wilder , development and asset manager of The Wilder Companies, which is working with Boylston Properties on the project.
The developers are wrapping up a series of community meetings before they finalize their proposal for official submission to the Watertown Planning Board. The public is invited to discuss the plan at the mall’s Innovation Space at 7 p.m. on Wednesday Aug. 17, and again Aug. 31.
The completed project would consist of retail spaces, restaurants, residential buildings, and entertainment spaces, such as a movie theater and a bowling alley. The interior-facing mall would be turned into an exterior mall.
But the most notable change would be the demolition of an addition built in the 1980s that blocks the view of the nearby Arsenal Park and the Charles River. It would removed to create a “river court” that provides pedestrian and bike access to the river and the park.
“The dialogue has been great,” said Wilder of the community discussions that have taken place so far. “The community has put in a tremendous amount of time and energy into the development.”