Monday, July 22, 2024

The Economic Mobility Hub at Rindge Commons topped has reached a construction milestone: topping off. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The nonprofit developer Just A Start and its contractors celebrated the topping off of its Economic Mobility Hub at Rindge Commons on May 18.

This is the first of two structures in the project at Rindge Avenue and Alewife Brook Parkway across from the Alewife MBTA red line T stop and will include 24 affordable-housing units totaling 32,000 square feet on the top floors, with lower floors housing 22,000 square feet of Just A Start headquarters; 10,000 square feet of preschool classrooms; and 6,000 square feet of office rentals.

Just A Start will provide workforce training programs in its headquarters, representing industries and organizations such as biotech, information technology and Youthbuild, a nonprofit workforce training program catering primarily to younger people who aren’t in school or employed.

The building is on track to be certified by Passive House, an organization that studies energy efficiency in buildings, Just A Start said in a May 19 press release.

Project executive Scott MacLeod praised partners in the project for the “safe and timely” manner in which the milestone was reached since breaking ground Oct. 20. The second building in the project, to be completed in another phase, will have 77 affordable homes. The project is expected to be complete in 2024.

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Inner Belt sale for $9 million

A one-story industrial building at 14-16 Horace St. in Somerville’s Inner Belt has sold for $9 million, the Bldup real estate platform reported last week. The Middlesex South Registry of deeds shows a sale on May 2 between anonymous LLCs. The building houses the Mystic Valley Foundry, a maker of aluminum and brass and bronze castings since 1936; a worker at the business declined to comment but confirmed that it will continue to operate.

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East Cambridge patch of nature

DivcoWest Real Estate Services submitted a design review application May 2 to Cambridge’s Planning Board for its East Cambridge “Triangle” parcel bounded by Monsignor O’Brien Highway, Cambridge Street and a planned extension of First Street. Its design would include a native pollinator garden, speakers playing birdsong native to New England and a Bluebikes station relocated from the old Lechmere MBTA station. Where once residents envisioned a flatiron hotel, “we do not anticipate a future condition in which we would be coming back to the board proposing retail on the site,” said John Rappoport, of DivcoWest. More seating will be added to initial plans, and Planning Board member Louis Bacci asked the company to consider finding bigger trees to plant on the site, to add to the chance they will survive.

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Alewife zoning off to committee

Alewife zoning and design guidelines are intended to result in a better, more walkable neighborhood. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The Cambridge Community Development Department submitted Alewife Zoning Overlay language to city councillors May 22, aiming to create more consistent design and a “self-sustaining neighborhood,” according to a letter from the department. The quadrangle – bounded by Fresh Pond in the south, Blanchard Road to the west, Wheeler Street to the east and Cambridgepark Drive to the north – saw acreage snapped up by life-sciences developers so rapidly that the council froze lab and office development to allow the work of an Alewife Zoning Working Group. That was just around a year ago, after which the group met nine times starting in June. The results now move to the council’s Ordinance Committee. “I’m just so happy to see this community process seems to work so well,” councillor Paul Toner said. The sentiment was echoed by councillor Marc McGovern (“I didn’t think that this was going to get done as fast as it did; I’m glad to see that that it did”), who was nonetheless disappointed that the privately owned Fresh Pond Mall had to be left out, considering previous plans had eyed the space for housing. In committee, McGovern suggested, he might push for more height on residential buildings.

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Somerville: Yes to SomerBridge

The Somerville Planning Board voted May 18 to approve a proposed SomerBridge Hotel at 1 McGrath Highway, in the Inner Belt. Chair Michael Capuano noted that the project got “overwhelming support” from the community for its plans to improve infrastructure around this entrance into Somerville. Adam Dash, an attorney representing the project, noted that the project would include a ramp connection to McGrath Highway and a connection to the new green line community path nearby. The project, which is partially in Cambridge, will need to go through a similar approval process there.

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Art for 101 CambridgePark

The work of artists in King Street Properties’ 101 CambridgePark Drive, in Cambridge’s Alewife area. (Photo: Boston Art via Bldup)

Boston Art completed an installation by local sculptor Gints Grinbergs and painter Lynda Schlosberg at 101 CambridgePark Drive, Bldup reported Friday. “Lynda depicts an imagined realm where natural and unnatural forces collapse into a mysterious state of vibrating, swirling energy inspired by the Alewife Reservation,” the site said, referring to a nearby state park and urban wild in Cambridge, Somerville and Arlington. “Grinbergs works with various metals, including copper, bronze and stainless steel, to create open forms and modern structures. His site-specific installation is inspired by figures in motion, connection and community.”