Rail stations, it turns out, are delivering much more than passengers to surrounding neighborhoods.
Young workers who prefer to walk or take the train — rather than drive — to eat, work and shop are pushing up property values and reshaping the way developers approach their plans.
Few places make this shift more evident than the Somerville suburb of Boston. A new Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority subway station was crucial to bringing Partners HealthCare to a new 825,000-square-foot office building at the Assembly Row complex last year, said Chris Weilminster, the president for the mixed-use division of the developer Federal Realty Investment Trust.
The station, which opened in 2014, has also driven Federal Realty’s broader development of Assembly Row, which broke ground in 2012. The trust has transformed a 45-acre industrial site — a barren expanse of broken concrete and scrub — into a neighborhood where housing, offices and restaurants rub shoulders along streets intended to be inviting to pedestrians. Public spaces throughout the development bump up against the Mystic River shoreline.