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Image by Chris Devers
On April 30, 2012, after many years of planning & delays, construction finally started on the Assembly Square development project in Somerville, MA.

Quoting from Wikipedia | Assembly Square:

[ [ [

Assembly Square is a mixed-use, smart growth development planned for 66.5 acres (269,000 m2) along the Mystic River in Somerville, Massachusetts presently named "Assembly Row". The site is two miles (3 km) from downtown Boston and accessible via I-93 and Route 28/Middlesex Fells Parkway.

Currently under redevelopment by Federal Realty Investment Trust, Assembly Row will combine retail, residential and commercial office space. The first phase of the project, completed in early 2006, was the Assembly Square Marketplace containing the retail stores Christmas Tree Shoppes, A.C. Moore, Sports Authority, Staples, TJMaxx, Kmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

The next phase of development, beginning with a new Assembly Square Drive began construction in late 2010. The first major development parcel was expected to be a new IKEA store but this has been put on hold by IKEA Corporation.

[1] Subsequent phases will include the development of a new main street providing premium retail and residential space, state-of-the-art office and research and development space, a new MBTA Orange Line mass transit station (projected opening, 2013) and the renewal of the waterfront along the Mystic River with parks and other green space.

When completed, Assembly Square will have pedestrian-oriented retail, housing, and 1,750,000 square feet (163,000 m2) of office and R&D space. [2]

] ] ]

Quoting from NECN | .6B development breaks ground in Somerville, Mass:

[ [ [

(NECN: Peter Howe, Somerville, Mass.) It’s taken more than 20 years to get here, but Monday was ceremonial groundbreaking day for a .6 billion redevelopment of Assembly Square here, widely seen as the biggest example of "transit-oriented development" now underway on the East Coast.

Fifty-four years after the closing of a Ford Motor Company car-assembly plant that gave the area its name, Federal Realty Development Trust and AvalonBay Communities Inc. joined state and city officials to unveil plans for a dramatic transformation of a 67-acre industrial zone into a whole new transit-anchored neighborhood they hope will one day be as big and thriving as Davis Square or Porter Square or Kendall Square or others.

The Massachusetts bay Transportation Authority Orange Line crosses by the eastern end of the project site, and the T and developers are building what will be a new stop opening by mid-2014 between the existing Sullivan Square and Wellington stops. That puts Assembly Square just three subway stops from downtown Boston.

"It’s really been about 20 years of discussion in the community,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said. "This is a city that has its hopes and dreams, and I think Somerville deserves a round of applause for pursuing those hopes and dreams."

Jay Gonzalez, Governor Deval L. Patrick’s secretary of administration and finance, said, "This is the poster child of what we should be doing across the commonwealth and what we are trying to do across the commonwealth … Public infrastructure that supports private investment to grow jobs. That’s what this project is all about.”

Officials estimate the project has received 0 million in public funds, including million in 2009 federal stimulus act funds that were used to construct a key access road, that have in turn unlocked plans for .5 billion in private investment. Those include two Avalon apartment complexes with 453 apartments, opening between mid- and late 2013, including a new "Ava" complex with smaller apartments aimed at urban hipsters with amenities like gear racks for storing bikes and stadium-seating public common spaces designed to encourage socializing.

The project in future phases could include up to 1,500 more apartments, 2.2 million square feet of office space, a hotel, a cinema complex, and numerous stores and restaurants, and it will also feature a six-acre waterfront park on the Mystic River connecting to miles of bike paths with a new underpass under busy Route 28 at the Mystic. Swedish furniture giant Ikea is evaluating whether to build a flagship Boston store at the site as well.

Gonzalez said extensive studies shared with bond-rating agencies show that the city and state will more than recoup, in new income and sales and corporate tax receipts, what they’ve invested in the project.

"This is the real deal," Gonzalez said. "We are going to get that new tax revenue, and it is going to pay for itself.”

With videographer John J. Hammann

] ] ]

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: main hall panorama (SR-71, Space Shuttle, et al)
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Image by Chris Devers
See more photos of this, and the Wikipedia article.

Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird:

No reconnaissance aircraft in history has operated globally in more hostile airspace or with such complete impunity than the SR-71, the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft. The Blackbird’s performance and operational achievements placed it at the pinnacle of aviation technology developments during the Cold War.

This Blackbird accrued about 2,800 hours of flight time during 24 years of active service with the U.S. Air Force. On its last flight, March 6, 1990, Lt. Col. Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. Joseph Vida set a speed record by flying from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds, averaging 3,418 kilometers (2,124 miles) per hour. At the flight’s conclusion, they landed at Washington-Dulles International Airport and turned the airplane over to the Smithsonian.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Manufacturer:
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

Designer:
Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson

Date:
1964

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Overall: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 55ft 7in. x 107ft 5in., 169998.5lb. (5.638m x 16.942m x 32.741m, 77110.8kg)
Other: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 107ft 5in. x 55ft 7in. (5.638m x 32.741m x 16.942m)

Materials:
Titanium

Physical Description:
Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

• • • • •

See more photos of this, and the Wikipedia article.

Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Space Shuttle Enterprise:

Manufacturer:
Rockwell International Corporation

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Overall: 57 ft. tall x 122 ft. long x 78 ft. wing span, 150,000 lb.
(1737.36 x 3718.57 x 2377.44cm, 68039.6kg)

Materials:
Aluminum airframe and body with some fiberglass features; payload bay doors are graphite epoxy composite; thermal tiles are simulated (polyurethane foam) except for test samples of actual tiles and thermal blankets.

The first Space Shuttle orbiter, "Enterprise," is a full-scale test vehicle used for flights in the atmosphere and tests on the ground; it is not equipped for spaceflight. Although the airframe and flight control elements are like those of the Shuttles flown in space, this vehicle has no propulsion system and only simulated thermal tiles because these features were not needed for atmospheric and ground tests. "Enterprise" was rolled out at Rockwell International’s assembly facility in Palmdale, California, in 1976. In 1977, it entered service for a nine-month-long approach-and-landing test flight program. Thereafter it was used for vibration tests and fit checks at NASA centers, and it also appeared in the 1983 Paris Air Show and the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. In 1985, NASA transferred "Enterprise" to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Transferred from National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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