Newton developer proposes retail and residential to replace police headquarters

The exterior of Newton’s current police headquarters, at 1321 Washington St.
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Newton’s real estate market may be hot, but a city solicitation last month for ideas to redevelop its police properties landed just one response from a developer.

The city is now studying the proposal from developer Robert Korff, who offered a choice of either $14 million for the properties, or a land swap with a $7 million payment, but the offer has left Mayor Ruthanne Fuller with some concerns.

“That’s not to say the whole undertaking is off the table, but let’s just say there’ll have to be some tough negotiating to get the proposal to a place where it makes sense for the city,” Fuller said in a statement e-mailed to residents May 31.


Korff contemplates a mixed-use development at the existing police headquarters property that would include 85 residential units and about 4,400 square feet of ground floor retail space, according to the developer’s proposal to the city.

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Last month, Fuller sought out developer interest in the city’s police headquarters, at 1321 Washington St., as well as a police garage, at 25 Chestnut St.

Fuller pitched the concept as allowing the city to explore its options to help reinvigorate part of West Newton Square, while using a land swap to help offset the cost of a new police headquarters.

Korff offered the city two choices: One option is an offer of $14 million for the existing police properties at 1321 Washington St. and 25 Chestnut St., according to the developer’s proposal to the city.

Or city officials could opt to exchange the police land for about 1.7 acres on Maguire Court that abuts city public works property on Crafts Street, plus a payment of $7 million to the city.


The two police properties total about 2.5 acres, according to city assessor data.

Korff’s proposal would preserve the facade of the building, and include on-site parking for the retail space and residential units.

The proposal also assumes that the city’s Captain John Ryan Memorial Park would be replaced at the site of the new police headquarters.

A plan for 25 Chestnut St. was still being determined, the developer said.

Across the street from the police headquarters, Korff has said he will modernize the Santander Bank building. He is also moving ahead with the 140-unit Washington Place development, and has proposed another near the West Newton Armory, along with land near Whole Foods at the corner of Crafts and Washington streets.


The proposal for the police land is being reviewed by an advisory committee consisting of City Councilors Deborah Crossley, Barbara Brousal-Glaser, Leonard Gentile, and Allan Ciccone, Jr., as well as Police Chief David MacDonald and other city department heads, Fuller said in her statement.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com