A biggie is finally underway in South Kensington. Back in the summer of 2013, we told you about Liberty Square, a project from Blackstone Development to redevelop an entire city block into residences, businesses, and artist space a la the nearby Piazza. Back then, the developers had just presented their plans to to the community for 247 apartments, 161 underground parking spots, and 75 bike parking spots on the large parcel bordered by Thompson Street, North American Street, Stiles Street, and Germantown Avenue. Harman Deutsch did the design work.
We're guessing that negotiations with the community resulted in some changes to the project, as the ZBA approved 191 units, 153 parking spots, and 159 bike spots about a year ago. Here's a rendering of the project from its original iteration, we're guessing the finished product will look something like this.
Since the project got approved, we've been waiting around patiently, optimistic that work would eventually get rolling but realistic in our expectations that projects like this are often derailed. But last week, a reader gave us the heads up that work was indeed underway on the site, with some old buildings getting demolished and heavy equipment pushing dirt around. Yesterday, we saw it with our own eyes.
This seems like a strong indication that construction on Liberty Square should finally get moving early next year. Assuming the plans remain unchanged, the project will be constructed in phases, which is made possible by the fact that it will include three separate buildings.
It should be interesting to see whether the apparent progress at Liberty Square has any influence on the movement for the Soko Lofts, a similar project a block away that was announced a couple of months before but has seen no site work to date. Just imagine, if Liberty Square and Soko Lofts both take off in the next couple of years, South Kensington will get an injection of hundreds of new residents, several new businesses, and an incalculable amount of new energy. These are exciting times indeed for this neighborhood.