On horizon, Symmes begins to rise

Symmes 360 logoFrom the parking lot at Stop & Shop on Mass. Ave., you can look toward the hill where Symmes Hospital used to be and see signs of progress.

The long-stalled Symmes project, the largest in Arlington history, has been underway since April. By August, you can see tall towers rising and below them a broad wall.

Jake Upton, the main contact for the project with developer Upton + Partners, said the side-by-side towers are elevator shafts for Building No. 4. They are at their maximum height, and are 4 to 5 feet higher than the roof of the larger building, yet to be constructed.

Building No. 3 will have an elevator shaft at the same height as the one for No. 4.

In the coming months, framing for the buildings will then be built around these shafts.

The retaining wall for the park has been installed, as have about 40 percent of the foundation walls for the Buildings 3 and 4 and the associated parking garage.

The general contractor on the condos is N.E.I. of Braintree.

Upton said construction is "generally on schedule to date," and The Shelter Group, which is building an assisted-living facility lower on the 18-acre site, along Hospital Road, is expected to mobilize construction activity in September and October. 

Arlington 360 LLC plans to build 176 residential units on the upper part of the site.

The lower part had been marketed to developers of medical offices, but no deal was resolved. Assisted living retains some connection to a medical-related use.

The special permit was modified from one issued before an assisted-living company became involved. It calls for maintenance of the conservation land included on the site. Arlington 360 has agreed to perform this maintenance on the conservation land it owns as well as the part Shelter has bought.

Holland said in December that The Shelter Group manages six facilities for residential and assisted living in the Boston area, among those in 23 communities. Three called Brightview are in Woburn, Billerica Danvers.

Holland said he thought assisted-living buildings would generate as much as $125,000 in annual tax revenue.

If plans go the redeveloper's way, construction on the project, to include 176 condos on the upper part of the site, would be complete in 2014. The assisted-living project would take about 72 months.

Upton + Partners has been designated with the Jefferson Apartment Group (JAG) and Starwood as the Symmes site's redeveloper.

Construction financing was estimated at $50 million to $60 million.

The Symmes project is expected to yield an estimated $725,000 in permitting fees.

This story was first reported Monday, Aug. 13, 2012.