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By Sveta Vakhitova | Agent in Boston, MA
  • Voke Lofts Open In Worcester

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Worcester, Market Conditions in Worcester, Rentals in Worcester  |  July 9, 2014 10:00 AM  |  72 views  |  No comments

    WinnDevelopment, the real estate development arm of WinnCompanies, last week held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the completed Voke Lofts in Worcester.

    The Voke Lofts project is an adaptive reuse and preservation of the existing building at 34 Grove St., formerly known as the Worcester Vocational Technical School.

    The 116,306-square-foot residential building is comprised of 84 mixed-income apartments, half of which will be restricted to households with incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the area's median income, and half of which will be market rate. The unit mix consists of 50 one-bedroom units, 31 two-bedroom units and 3 three-bedroom units.

    The lofts include an on-site management office, a community room with a kitchen, a computer learning center and a play area for young children. The apartments have exposed brick and ceiling beams, track lighting and Energy Star appliances.

    The lofts will also include an art gallery featuring work by students at the current Worcester Technical High School as well as historic pieces from the school's past. In addition, Worcester's Becker College will be offering classes to residents on-site in the "brain gym."

    "This is a great day for Winn and the city of Worcester," Gilbert Winn, managing principal of WinnCompanies, said in a statement. "The school is an important part of Worcester's past and we're honored to preserve the character of the building in its latest incarnation, which brings much needed, quality housing to the city."

    Source: Banker & Tradesman

  • City expected to endorse Cleveland Circle plan despite resident-group's objections

    Posted Under: General Area in Brookline, Market Conditions in Brookline, Rentals in Brookline  |  June 18, 2014 1:57 PM  |  132 views  |  No comments

    The Boston Redevelopment Authority is poised to approve a controversial $80 million mixed-use development that would redevelop the shuttered Cleveland Circle Cinema in Brighton, one of the earliest indicators yet of how the Walsh administration will balance neighborhood objections with private-sector plans to revitalize sections of the city.

    On June 19, the BRA’s board is likely to endorse Boston Development Group’s plan to replace the cinema site at 399 Chestnut Hill Ave. with a mixed-use residential, hotel and retail complex. Typically, items that make it on the agenda win unanimous board approval. The thumbs-up is expected despite opposition from most members of the Impact Advisory Group, a city-appointed panel assembled to advise the BRA on the project. A majority of the panel wanted a development with fewer apartments, less height and guarantees that apartments would not be rented to undergraduates, among other demands.

    “I’m very angry at the BRA,” said IAG member Mary Cronin. “Given that the city will not insist that the developer make these changes, the project will be a disaster for the people living near it. We are being left holding the bag and we are the ones who will take the hit once it's built."

    Eva Webster, another IAG member, said while she has been supportive of the redevelopment, it should not proceed to the board without changes that would improve the overall project.

    “This project needs to happen, but my support was conditioned on tying up the loose ends,” she said. “The things that I have been asking for are not deal breakers. They are things that would improve the project for the neighborhood and the developer.”

    But Erico Lopez, the BRA’s project director, said while support from the IAG is preferable, he noted that based on the comment letters to the city, the neighborhood generally supports the redevelopment plan. Of the 259 comment letters to the BRA, 171 were in support, 84 were opposed and four were neutral, he said.

    “We always want to have the IAG on the same page, but when we nominate members, we don’t nominate them for their voice to be the one and only voice,” he said. “The process for this project can never be questioned. We have gone through more than three years of community meetings. This project has gone through an evolution and the city received much more mitigation and community benefits than a lot of projects because we’ve had the community’s input.”

    Mayor Martin J. Walsh first hinted at his approval for the Cleveland Circle project last month in an interview with the Boston Business Journal. The project is among the first controversial development plans he has addressed since taking office earlier this year.

    “People have a right to have a voice in the community," said Walsh at the time. "If we are building a 60-story tower in an area that’s zoned for three stories, then that’s too much density. But here we are talking about a development that will result in a revitalization of the Cleveland Circle area.”

    Source: Boston Business Journal

  • Luxury waterfront apartments coming to Quincy’s Marina Bay

    Posted Under: General Area in Quincy, Quality of Life in Quincy, Rentals in Quincy  |  June 18, 2014 1:31 PM  |  122 views  |  No comments

    A joint venture of Hines and MetLife is planning 352 waterfront apartments on a 6-acre parcel at Marina Bay with views across Dorchester Bay to downtown Boston.

    The project, to be built at the former Ocean Club nightclub site on Victory Road, will consist of two, four-story, wood-frame buildings with 352 luxury units, 17,000 square feet of retail space and 500 parking spaces. In addition to the apartment community, a waterfront pedestrian connection will be built between the boardwalk and Squantum Point Park and shuttle service will be provided to the nearby North Quincy MBTA station. Construction is scheduled to begin next year with pre-leasing to start in 2016.

    Hines bought the parcel earlier this month for $20.6 million from Flagship Marina Bay LLC, which bought several Marina Bay sites in 2005 for $25 million. David Perry, senior managing director who leads the Houston-based firm’s Boston office, said rents will range from $2,500 for a 600-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment, to $4,000 for a 1,400-square-foot, four-bedroom unit.

    “We like the supply and demand and affordability dynamics of the inner suburbs relative to the downtown,” Hines said. “Our rents, which I consider quite high, are a bargain compared to downtown Boston. We offer easy access to Boston with a shuttle service at the site to the North Quincy MBTA Station and you’re at South Station in 10 minutes."

    News of the Hines deal comes on the heels of last month's announcement by Cabot, Cabot & Forbes to build an 180-unit apartment community on a two-acre parcel across from the Quincy Adams MBTA Station on Penn Street.

    Source: Boston Business Journal 

  • Brookline developer wins key approval for 40B project near Coolidge Corner

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Brookline, For Rent in Brookline, Rentals in Brookline  |  June 4, 2014 10:19 AM  |  153 views  |  No comments

    The developer of a 65-unit affordable housing development near Coolidge Corner in Brookline has won final approval to commence construction.

    Brookline’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved a comprehensive permit for a six-story building at 45 Marion St. The Danesh Group of Brookline sought approval under the state’s Chapter 40B law that enables developers to override local zoning if the amount of a community’s affordable housing stock is below 10 percent. In Brookline, 8 percent of its housing is deemed affordable by the state’s formula.

    The project dates back to 2003 when Paragon Properties, a Needham-based developer, sought initial approvals from the town. Under the original proposal, an existing three-story apartment building with 16 units would be demolished and replaced with a 12-story building containing 88 apartments. Following opposition from residents and town planners, Paragon reduced the number of units to 68.

    But the project was never built and Paragon sold the parcel to Brookline-based Danesh Group in 2012 for $6 million.

    Under the revised plan, Danesh Group plans to build a six-story building with 65, mostly one-bedroom apartments, and 21 parking spaces. Construction could begin by year's end.

    Despite the addition of the new units, Brookline will still be short of the 10 percent affordable threshold, according to Lara Curtis Hayes, Brookline’s senior planner.

    Brookline officials are considering a second, but larger Chapter 40B proposal. Chestnut Hill Realty has proposed a 192-unit expansion of Hancock Village in South Brookline. Built in the 1940s, the complex already has about 530 apartments off of Independence Drive and VFW Parkway.

    Source: Boston Business Journal

  • Mount Vernon Co. lists green-certified apartments in Allston for sale

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Allston, Rentals in Allston, Investment Properties in Allston  |  May 20, 2014 11:43 AM  |  236 views  |  No comments

    Bruce Percelay, chairman of the Mount Vernon Co., wants to cash out on his three new apartment buildings in Boston’s Allston neighborhood.

    Percelay has hired Boston Realty Advisorsto market the three newly constructed multifamily properties, which he promotes as the neighborhood's "Green District."

    The properties include 283 apartments and 275 parking spaces.

    A theme throughout all three buildings is sustainable living. The property's green amenities include in-wall hydration stations, energy efficient appliances, electric car charging stations and bike storage. There’s also a Zipcar station, a Hubway bike-sharing station and access to the Green Line.

    Percelay said he is selling the trio of properties in a single transaction to raise cash for future investment opportunities.

    Real estate sources say the three building deal could fetch as much as $150 million. The property includes:

    • Element at 9-23 Griggs St. is a 100-unit building completed in 2012 with community amenities that include a fireplace-lit lobby, a fitness center, a movie theater, a community lounge with kitchen and a 2,000-square-foot recycled grass rooftop terrace with views of downtown Boston. Unit amenities include loft style apartments with 9-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows, in-unit washers and dryers, designer kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The building has won a LEED-certified gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
    • The 79-unit Edge at 60-66 Brainerd Rd. was completed in 2013. Amenities include a garage and surface parking and an indoor/outdoor fitness center. It is LEED-platinum certified.
    • Eco at 75 Brainerd Rd. is a 104-unit building which is under construction and expected to be complete in September. The property amenities will include a club room with kitchenette, a roof deck and a sky view fitness center. The property is expected to achieve LEED platinum certification.

    Element and Edge are 100 percent leased with rents ranging from $1,800 per month for a 500-square-foot studio to $3,100 per month for a two-bedroom with about 925 square feet of living space. Forty percent of Echo’s units have been preleased.

    Source: Boston Business Journal

  • MassHousing Closes $8.9 Million In Loans Renovation Of Pittsfield Apartments

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Pittsfield, Market Conditions in Pittsfield, Rentals in Pittsfield  |  February 10, 2014 3:26 PM  |  283 views  |  No comments

    MassHousing has closed $8.9 million in financing to renovate and maintain the affordability of the 101-unit Central Annex Apartments for elderly and disabled residents in Pittsfield.

    The MassHousing financing includes a $5.4 million construction and permanent loan and a $3.5 million bridge loan. An additional $1.75 million is being provided from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is managed by MassHousing on behalf of the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Other funding for the development is being provided by DHCD and equity from the sale of Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

    Central Annex is comprised of two low-rise brick buildings. The first, located on Second Avenue, was built as the Central High School in 1898. The other, located on Union Street, started as the Berkshire Hotel in 1905. In 1979, both buildings were converted into housing with MassHousing financing and both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) of Boston, which owns the Central Annex Apartments, has renewed the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract on all 101 apartments, which will keep them affordable for at least the next 20 years.

    The contractor will be Keith Construction Inc. and the architect is Guzman Prufer Inc. The management agent will be POAH.

    Source: Banker & Tradesman

  • Mike’s Pastry coming to Harvard Square

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Cambridge, Shopping & Local Amenities in Cambridge, Rentals in Cambridge  |  February 4, 2014 8:22 AM  |  380 views  |  No comments

    Mike’s Pastry, the landmark Italian bakery in Boston’s North End best known for its ricotta-stuffed cannolis, is planning to open a second cafe in Harvard Square this spring.

    The Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal unanimously approved a request to grant the pastry shop a fast food permit at a meeting last Thursday. Also in January, the city’s Harvard Square Advisory Committee gave the shop a thumbs-up.

    Mike’s has signed a lease for about 1,000 square feet of space at 11 Dunster St. The shop will contain six seats and will do a mostly take-out business.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But a retail broker familiar with Harvard Square said rents in that section of the square cost between $60 - $80 per square foot.

    Founded on Hanover Street in the North End more than 67 years ago, the family-run shop has a legion of customers who are willing to wait in long lines for a taste of a variety of cannolis including the chocolate chip, pistachio, and amaretto varieties, as well as biscotti, rum cakes and more.

    Source: Boston Business Journal

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