WOBURN - Hoping to sweeten a potential lease deal with Lahey Health Systems, a Presidential Way landowner intends to tack a 60,000 square foot addition onto the medical service provider's existing information technology (IT) headquarters by the Wilmington line.
During the latest gathering of the City Council, the aldermen voted unanimously in favor of issuing a special permit to Presidential Ventures LLC for the office building expansion, which will create a new four-story building with connections to an existing 104,00 square foot complex at 8 Presidential Way.
According to local attorney James Mawn, the CEO of Woburn-based Northern Bank and a representative for the landowners, he and other officials are currently negotiating a potential lease renewal with Lahey Health, which utilizes the existing two-story facility for its IT and medical billing departments.
"We've been in negotiations with the existing tent to expand. They're currently using the existing space and the negotiations are ongoing as we speak," he said.
Situated in close proximity to I-93, the land in questions is part of a larger 14-acre parcel off of Presidential Way that was long utilized by Connecticut-based Porter and Chester Institute, which shuttered a Woburn trade school campus back in 2017.
According to Brian Jones, a consultant from civil engineering firm Allen & Major Associates, the new four-story office park will be tied into the existing structure. Because of site topography, which drops down considerably where the construction will occur, a series of ADA-compliant ramps and stairwells will be constructed near the new office building entrance.
Presidential Ventures LLC, which will also create a new 32-space parking area off to the westerly side of the new building, also proposed to add a new subsurface drainage and water treatment system to handle stormwater runoff. That new infrastructure, to be buried underneath the parking area, will replace a present-day above ground drainage pond.
"We would construct the westerly parking lot and replace the existing detention basin with a subsurface system that's designed to meet the current water quality standards [set by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)]," Jones explained.
Giles Ham, a traffic engineer from Vanasse & Associates, later claimed that an analysis he prepared on behalf of the petitioner shows the project will not cause any major traffic problems along Presidential Way or adjoining roadways like Atlantic Avenue.
He later advised the council that Presidential Ventures LLC is prepared to contribute roughly $20,000 towards signalization upgrades in the area.
"There is an increase of about 57 trips during the morning peak hour and 64 trips during the evening peak hour," said Ham, who noted the traffic impact will have an negligible impact on area commuters, who enjoy easy access from Presidential Way to the I-93 ramps by Commerce Way.
Though there was some question about whether the developer should pay $7,500 or $20,000 for mitigation, Mawn later agreed to pay the originally agreed upon sum for the signalization upgrade, as well as additional monies since requested for an Atlantic Avenue traffic impact study.
Other conditions attached to the special permit included a requirement that granite curbing be installed in the new parking lot by traffic islands.
"It should be granite" said Ward 2 Alderman Richard Gately. "You're talking about a total of 644 parking spaces in there. That's going to require some big snow equipment, not just a pickup truck with an eight-foot plow blade. [Any other type of curbing] won't last."
Back in 2018, the City Council okayed the initial special permit that enabled Lahey Halth System's move to Presidential Way by allowing the creation of a new parking area with 250 parking spaces. At the time, Lahey Halth had just become the state's second-largest medical services provider in a merger with Beth Israel Deaconess.