Breaking ground on Assembly Row

Assembly Square will have a drastically new look in a few short years.

If T riders thought the bulky bags of fellow passengers bashing them around was bad, the giant boxes of do-it-yourself furniture that could be on board trains are sure to create an unpleasant commute along the Orange Line.

While Somerville prepares to revitalize the Assembly Square area, breaking ground yesterday on phase one of the Assembly Row development, talks of an Ikea being housed near the new project are still active.

A spokesman for the Swedish furniture store told the Herald last month the company has “approvals” to build but doesn’t have a construction timetable.

The Assembly Row and Ikea projects are separate, but nearby.

But if Ikea does arrive, riders could be bunched on the T with unbuilt bedroom sets.

Somerville spokesman Tom Champion said if and when the time comes to construct an Ikea near Assembly Row, the company is “sensitive to the issue” as they plan strategies for operating in a more urban environment.

“Ikea is aware of the need to manage the delivery side of the operation in such a way you don’t have problems with transit,” he said. “They are as eager as anyone to make transit an ally.”

Champion said Ikea has permits to build, but has not indicated when they will begin.

MBTA officials don’t seem concerned about the prospect of passengers piling on public transit with oversized boxes, however.

“We trust that our customers will exercise good judgment in deciding whether a subway car is the proper mode of transport for their purchases,” said Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the MBTA.

Pesaturo said the T “looks forward to providing service to everyone who chooses to live and shop around the new Orange Line station.”

Coming soon

The new area will include:
A new Orange Line T station
1.75 million square feet of office space
550,000 square feet of retail
65,000 square feet of entertainment
450 residential units


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