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Developers Land $239M Construction Loan For Somerville Lab, Multifamily Project

The Union Square life sciences and residential development proposed by a joint venture.

A Somerville development set to reshape the suburb has received $239M in funding to begin construction.

A joint venture among four developers secured the financing from Bank OZK last month for a 194K SF life sciences facility and 450-unit residential tower, broker JLL announced Monday. The project is expected to deliver 2.4M SF across a mix of uses along Prospect Street, walking distance to Kendall Square, the developers said.

The venture consists of Magellan Development Group, RAS Development, Cypress Equity Investments and USAA Real Estate. Bank OZK provided $120M for the housing development and $119M for the remaining development known as USQ, according to South Middlesex County records posted last month. A JLL representative declined to comment on the funding.

“A new Class A life sciences building will anchor the neighborhood and create opportunities for the next great concentration of life sciences and technology companies to flourish,” RAS Development partner Greg Karczewski said in a statement.

The development takes a significant step toward groundbreaking three years after the Somerville Board of Aldermen voted to approve zoning changes for the site. The project, currently a vacant lot across the square of restaurants and retail, will rise over the MBTA’s Green Line extension, currently under construction through the neighborhood.

The move is the latest sign of life sciences momentum in the neighborhood becoming an alternative for developers seeking space outside of the crowded Kendall Square. BioMed Realty Trust recently announced closing on a massive site near Assembly Row.

Months earlier, DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners and Leggat McCall Properties announced the topping off of the 290K SF 101 South St., which is blocks away in the neighborhood. That structure was built with another $140M Bank OZK loan in 2019. A bank executive last week in an earnings call said the lender has “broke out for the first time” in life sciences lending, concentrated in the Boston-Cambridge submarket.