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Amendment Would Allow a Multi-Story Hotel to go on Arsenal Street

The hotel could be up to seven stories tall.

The former Charles River Saab could become a hotel. Patch File Photo.
The former Charles River Saab could become a hotel. Patch File Photo.
The Watertown Town Council will consider passing an amendment to the town's Planning Ordinances for maximum height of certain parcels in town to be as high as 65 feet.

The amendment would open the way for a multistory hotel to be built on the former Charles River Saab site on the east end of Arsenal Street. The property has been purchased by Boston developer Boylston Properties and Jonathan Bush, the CEO of nearby athenahealth.

The amendment applies to I-1 industrial zones in Watertown, said Economic Development and Planning Director Steve Magoon. Those areas include the Arsenal Mall, Watertown Mall, areas along Elm Street (which runs next to Target) and the former Saab dealership, Magoon said.

"The proposed ordinance refers to seven stories or 65 feet," Magoon said.

While developers have talked about turning the Charles River Saab site into a hotel, Magoon said no proposals have come forward, and they may not seek to build to the maximum height.

A proposal had been made to increase the maximum height in all of Watertown's industrial zones, Magoon said, but the Planning Board recommended it only apply to the I-1 zones.

The Town Council will make the ultimate decision on whether to allow the amendment.

A public hearing on the amendment will be held on Feb. 11 at the Town Council Meeting, which begins at 7:15 p.m. in Town Hall. 
Mara January 30, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Why seven stories? Why not four? That's more in keeping with Watertown's architecture.
Vinnie Dummerino January 30, 2014 at 01:31 PM
If the new plan to redevelop the arsenal site comes to fruition with all of its new small companies, then a 7 story hotel makes sense either where proposed or on the site to accommodate visiting business people for meeting and so on; otherwise perhaps 4 but the location is a good one with minimum traffic impact and maximum quick main route access and would provide steady jobs here as well as give east Watertown a new and decent hotel and place to have functions as well and those functions generate a lot of revenue.

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