Economic Development in Newtons Thirteen Villages
Newton is renowned as a City of Thirteen Villages and much of our commercial activity occurs in these vibrant mixed-use centers. The villages are home to distinctive shops, independent restaurants, neighborhood services, and professional offices, as well as civic buildings, places of worship, cultural organizations, and, in many cases, transit stations with direct service from downtown Boston. The villages are not incorporated as such all are a part of the City of Newton but many residents and businesses have great loyalty to their distinct, local village. See an interactive map of Newtons Villages here.
Auburndale has commercial, office, institutional, and industrial uses located along Commonwealth Avenue, Auburn Street, and Rowe Street, and is near Lasell College. The market area is primarily local, but some businesses attract from a wider area due to its proximity to the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 129/I-95. Auburndale is home to an MBTA Commuter Rail Station, the Auburndale Historic District, and treasured community resources like the Auburndale Community Library and the Turtle Lane Playhouse.
As a place name, Chestnut Hill includes portions of the City of Newton and Town of Brookline located near Route 9/Boylston Street, Boston College, and the border with the City of Boston. The Chestnut Hill Historic District includes residential portions of the village, while the commercial activities in Chestnut Hill are primarily the regional shopping malls on Route 9 (see below).
Newton Centre is at the juncture of Beacon Street and Centre Street and includes the largest commercial district of any of the village centers. The village includes a Green Line MBTA station and several municipal parking lots, including the prominent "triangle lot" in the center. The Newton Centre Task Force Final Report (2008) was the result of an extensive community planning process, and specific sites in Newton Centre have continued to be the focus of City and community planning efforts.
Newton Corner is a regionally oriented commercial center that includes the Crown Plaza Hotel built on air rights over the Massachusetts Turnpike. This villages location next to Exit 17 on the MassPike offers convenient connections to and from downtown Boston and Logan Airport; MBTA Express Buses make these trips accessible without a car. The Newton Corner Advisory Committee works in this village, which is also home to smaller-scale commercial uses along Washington Street near the border with Watertown.
Newton Highlands is centered at the intersection of Lincoln Street and Walnut Street at an MBTA Green Line station, and the village is readily accessible from Route 9 and Needham Street. There are many small, independently-owned shops, and the Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council is an official elected body under the City Charter that works on local issues and plans community events, including the annual Village Day and an ice skating rink.
The Newton Lower Falls commercial area is found along Washington Street near the border with the Town of Wellesley. Located to the west of Route 129/I-95, this village benefits from easy access to the highway and is also close to the Riverside and Woodland MBTA Green Line stations. The village takes its name from its location on the Charles River.
Newton Upper Falls industrial roots are linked to the railroad line that runs along its periphery. The main commercial center, Pettee Square, is at the intersection of Oak Street and Ossipee Road and contains a mix of small retail and larger employers housed in converted mill buildings. There is another smaller commercial area by Eliot Street and Chestnut Street, and parts of this village are in the Newton Upper Falls Historic District. This village is adjacent to the Charles River, also taking its name from a location on the falls, and is walking distance from the Needham Street corridor.
Newtonville's village center is a large commercial area bisected by the Massachusetts Turnpike, with businesses clustered on Washington Street and Walnut Street. The village includes an MBTA Commuter Rail Station, the Newton Senior Center, and is walking distance from the new Newton North High School. The Newtonville Historic District Commission and the Newtonville Advisory Committee are active in this village. The City is currently investigating the redevelopment of the Austin Street municipal parking lot for a mixed-use development that would add housing and vitality to the village center while retaining parking.
Nonantum is located in the northeastern part of the City and borders Watertown to the east. The primary retail area is located on Watertown Street between Adams Street and Faxon Street, with additional commercial activity along California Street and more manufacturing use in this village than in others. The Nonantum Advisory Committee provides input on community development projects. Once known as The Lake, Nonantum is known for its rich Italian-American heritage, celebrated at annual street festivals including the St. Mary of Carmen Festival in July.
Located near the Wells Avenue Office Park, the Oak Hill center itself is a small convenience center primarily serving the Oak Hill Park neighborhood in the southernmost section of the City.
Thompsonville has a concentration of commercial activity near the intersection of Langley Road and Jackson Street, but the village is most closely associated with Chestnut Hill and the regional shopping malls on Route 9/Boylston Street (see below).
Waban has a small commercial center along Beacon Street surrounding the MBTA Green Line station. The transit-oriented village primarily contains locally-owned businesses serving the surrounding neighborhood.
West Newtons main thoroughfare, Washington Street, provides easy access to the Massachusetts Turnpike and the village has an MBTA Commuter Rail Station. In addition to the retail and service businesses, West Newton has a significant amount of the Citys manufacturing use. A local movie theatre and many restaurants lend vibrancy to the center in the evenings, and the West Newton Advisory Committee provides input on community development projects.
Economic Development along Newtons Commercial Corridors and Regional Business Areas
Historically an industrial area, Needham Street is the City's largest commercial corridor and represents one of the most significant opportunities for future economic development. A state highway, the road is an important connection between Route 128/I-95 and Route 9. Vacancies and opportunities for retail, office, and industrial sites in both the northern part of the corridor, which tends to have smaller lots, and the southern part of the corridor, which has some larger lots and office space in multi-story buildings, are highlighted on the Commercial Real Estate Connection. Needham Street has been the subject of much study, and the City is currently working on a master plan for the corridor. Presentations from recent community meetings and supporting documents are on the website here.
Route 9/Boylston Street
Closely associated with the village of Chestnut Hill, the Route 9 (or Boylston Street) corridor is home to several high-end malls and shopping centers that draw regional and local shoppers, including The Mall at Chestnut Hill, The Atrium Mall, and Chestnut Hill Shopping Center. In 2010, the Board of Aldermen granted a special permit for the Chestnut Hill Square mixed-use development on the vacant former Omni Foods site.
Wells Avenue Office Park
The Wells Avenue Office Park is a self-contained, tree-lined area in the southwestern part of the city with easy access to Route 128/I-95. First-class office space and other vacancies are highlighted on the Commercial Real Estate Connection.