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1256 <p><b></b>A recent study conducted by Harvard reaffirmed the positive impact that bringing the outdoors in has at work and at home.<b></b><br></p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p>A recent study conducted by Harvard reaffirmed the positive impact that bringing the outdoors in has at work and at home. According to the research, green-certified offices, which utilize plants to enliven the work setting, boost cognition by 26%, reduce sick days by 30% and increase sleep quality by 6%.</p><p>Clearly, the benefits of green office features are far reaching. Developers and architects frequently use atriums and other green features in their design plans based on their ability to circulate light and ventilation into the interior of buildings. A modern example of this centuries-long trend recently garnered attention thanks to Amazon and its launch of <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">“Spheres”</a> – giant glass and steel dome structures filled with tropical plants that serve as new work environments for its Seattle-based employees.</p><p>Building a <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">90-foot-tall</a>, multifaceted environment like this takes skill, know-how and creativity. In order to reflect the tropical weather associated with Central America, heat is recycled through a data-center complex that radiates throughout the site’s three towers, and then piped into the concrete floor. Cool-air vents, masked as fake logs, are located in areas where plants are clustered. And custom interior lights adjust automatically in response to changes in the weather.</p><p>Across the country, the City of Boston has its own rich history of integrating atriums into its buildings. The Boston Exchange Coffee House and Hotel, which opened in 1809 on Congress Street, is often cited as the country’s first modern hotel and the first to incorporate an indoor garden environment into its design. The five-story atrium was the center of the hotel, ringed by balconies and enclosed in a large glass paneled dome.</p><p>Today, several new Boston developments will be implementing modernized atriums as well. Here are a few noteworthy local projects:</p><ol><li><p>One project that has just received approval for its proposed revitalization is 135 Morrissey, at the site of the Boston Globe’s former headquarters. The project proposal includes a new entrance featuring a multi-story atrium space, which will act as the building’s hub, the perfect setting for collaborative meeting spaces. The entire front façade will include floor-to-ceiling glass walls, allowing natural light to brighten the building. This space will also be open to the public during work hours. </p></li><li><p>An atrium addition at 100 Federal Street in the Financial District, which has been underway for the past year, will contain an 8,990-square-foot year-round garden, as well as retail and kiosk space. &nbsp;All of the daylight brought into the building will significantly decrease energy costs, and proper heating and ventilation systems will help maintain plant life.</p></li><li><p>There have been several high profile additions to the burgeoning Kendall Square area that currently spotlight atriums. For instance, the newly opened 380,000 square foot lab and office property at 75-125 Binney Street, in the dynamic hub of the country’s premier biotech and IT industries, features a dramatic spiral staircase within a five-story, all-season atrium. Likewise, a six-story atrium also conjoins the neighborhood’s impressive state-of-the-art life science space located at the Cambridge Science Center as well as a revitalization of Carter's Ink Building at 245 First Street. And, finally, Google’s Cambridge office features an atrium between 5 and 3 Cambridge Center, with a glass-walled connector that includes public and retail space.</p></li><li><p>On the opposite side of the city, and just a short walk from the Alewife transit station in North Cambridge, the Charles River Analytics headquarters at 625 Mount Auburn Street underwent a renovation and now includes on-site parking, a fitness center and a cafe in addition to a two-story atrium lobby. </p></li><li><p>In addition to textbook interior courtyards, other large open spaces in Boston developments are capturing the spirit of these gardens. For example, the Winthrop Square Garage project – which just recently broke ground – will feature a 12,000-square-foot public space. &nbsp;The Great Hall will span the building’s first three floors and will contain restaurant, retail and meeting space. </p></li></ol><p>Here at JM Electrical, we have outfitted our new office with a number of exotic plants and are considering building a plant wall as part of our efforts to create a modern, collaborative work environment. We are hopeful that this will encourage creativity and teamwork within our staff. &nbsp;With plants enhancing the workplace – from improving mental health to saving energy – developments across the country are wise to “think green” when designing new spaces.</p><p></p> Going Green: How Modern Atriums Benefit the Workplace Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p><b></b></p><p></p><p>Interior doors are, irrevocably, one of the most important elements inside of your future developments. Furthermore, interior doors and room-dividing systems enunciate space, maintain privacy, and ultimately + especially will elevate desire in many a buyer.</p><b><p> </p></b><br><br><p></p> <p></p><p></p><p><b>Interior Doors + Room Dividing Systems inside Your Future Developments</b></p><p><i>Divine Design Center</i></p><p>Interior doors are, irrevocably, one of the most important elements inside of your future developments. Furthermore, interior doors and room-dividing systems enunciate space, maintain privacy, and ultimately + especially will elevate desire in many a buyer.</p><p><img width="466" alt="" src="" height="312"></p><p> </p><p>With that said, the hollow doors, made of veneered plywood or fiberboard, of current standing work against the success of the rising tides of Boston developments. These echo-ey, poorly constructed “gates” allude to their purpose, but that’s about it. Noise is not trapped and privacy is rarely kept. Their bulky frames are far from subtle, and their century-old intentions are now just merely antiquated.</p><p>So, where do we go from here?</p><p>To Europe. Evidently.</p><p><img width="488" alt="" src="" height="241"></p><p>With backgrounds in steel and aluminum production, Italian companies such as ALBED and Pail Porte are re-thinking what it means to design and implement a door inside any and every kind of home.</p><p>ALBED is an Italian company and has been in production since 1964. The Milan-based industrialists came about "with the idea of making high-quality design aluminum complements. It has developed its style and its own production skills while maintaining its original goals." All modern living concepts developed and produced by ALBED are made from eco-conscious and industrial grade materials. ALBED manufactures all of its living solutions, i.e. doors, windows, dividers, and wardrobes in Italy. According to ALBED, “These solutions can adapt to any space, to furnish rooms while creatively optimizing every area of the home and office in a refined, thoughtful and innovative manner. Technology, know-how and our production cycle that is entirely an internal process, allows us to make products and offer a “tailor-made” service for every furnishing need."</p><p><img width="384" alt="" src="" height="270"></p><p>On a similar note, “Pail is a leading company in producing interior doors and wooden, wooden aluminum, aluminum, and PVC windows. One productive world that has more than 200 subordinates shared on four factories, on about 100.000 mq surface (45.000 mq covered surface). Every year Pail makes out 75.000 internal doors, 15.000 external windows, semi-manufactured and wooden components, for the home and foreign market.”</p><p><img width="400" alt="" src="" height="283"></p><p>Thus, hardy, fully-flush doors and room-dividing systems play off of these manufacturer’s VERITAS: delivering a high-quality and diverse product that infinitely satisfies.</p><p>You have the option to choose from a finite group of finishes, materials, and styles. Furthermore, innovations from both of these lines offer efficient changes to the final product. This being, the introduction of a magnetic lock as opposed to your standard deadbolt.</p><p> </p><p><img width="359" alt="" src="" height="539"></p><p> </p><p>From a swing door to a sliding one, and everything above, both ALBED and Pail offer unique styles that accentuate a developments value rather than deter from it.</p><p>For information on Interior Doors or any other interior design inquiries for developments, we invite you to visit <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Divine Design Center online,</a> give us a call at (617) 443-0700, or take a trip down to our showroom located at 2 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 02109!</p><p>~Madison Silvers</p><p></p> Interior Doors + Room Dividing Systems inside Your Future Developments Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>Many millennials and other young people walking through Somerville’s vibrant squares and neighborhoods would be surprised to know what it was like in the 1960’s and 70’s.<br></p> <p></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="100" alt="Print" src="" height="48"></a> <p><b>Powered by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</b></p><p><br></p><p>Many millennials and other young people walking through Somerville’s vibrant squares and neighborhoods would be surprised to know what it was like in the 1960’s and 70’s. Boarded up store windows. Dangerous crime levels. Houses in decay. Middle class flight to the suburbs. A city on a downward spiral.<br></p><p></p><p>Today, Somerville is one of the hottest restaurant, nightlife and real estate markets in the state – the envy of many cities around the state.</p><p></p><p>What happened? While many factors came into play (Cambridge residents getting priced out of the market; an overall shift to urban centers; improved city government and services), nearly everyone acknowledges the key: the arrival of the Red Line in Davis Square.</p><p></p><p>When Somerville was added to the region’s mass transit system, making downtown Boston a short 15 minute subway ride away, the city began to bloom. And today, the Davis Square area is in full flower.</p><p></p><p>Infrastructure spending is the key to economic development here and across the country. When we invest in our roads and bridges, our trains and subways, we see development money unleashed, which in turn leads to growth in jobs, housing and population. And the need for improvement in our country’s infrastructure is an issue that has long been debated in Congress — truthfully, it may be one of the few current political topics with bipartisan agreement.</p><p></p><p>In fact, recent reports out of Washington suggest the Trump administration may produce an infrastructure bill soon, in order to gain a victory on an issue both Democrats and Republicans can agree on.</p><p></p><p>Both the President and the Democrats agree the dollar figure for this investment is at least a trillion dollars. That’s a steep price, but it’s a small price to pay to fix our roads, bridges, water systems and other infrastructure, while creating jobs and stimulating the economy.</p><p></p><p><b>Where will the funding come from?</b></p><p></p><p>Because President Trump is adamant about steering clear of taxpayer dollars, his solution is to fund these infrastructure projects through a mixture of public and private capital. Nevertheless, he would rely most heavily on private-sector investments — and these investments would be incentivized through tax cuts that can later be used to earn these companies money; for example, charging a toll for a repaired bridge or road.</p><p></p><p>Democrats, however, resist privatization of public infrastructure and favor mostly public spending. On the one hand, it could be a big victory for bipartisan success. On the other hand, it could get bogged down in partisan disagreements about how to pay for it. We’ll know more in the coming weeks.</p><p></p><p><b>Effects from the local perspective</b></p><p></p><p>Few states need infrastructure infusions as much as Massachusetts. <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Forty-two</a>&nbsp;percent of our roads are in poor condition. On top of that, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">483 of our total 5,171 bridges</a>&nbsp;are considered structurally deficient. And major expansion projects hang in the balance.</p><p></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Upon recent approval</a>, Somerville and Medford’s Green Line Extension, which will help revitalize Union Square and other parts of the two cities, now has its $2.3 billion funding intact – even without a huge infrastructure bill.</p><p></p><p>However, other transportation projects are not as fortunate. For example, South Coast Rail, an extension that could bring a commuter rail to New Bedford and Fall River, might not be so lucky. Amtrak receives a substantial amount of federal funding, which Trump has proposed severe cuts to. Such would affect all of Amtrak’s long-distance train lines, in turn affecting the 500 communities served by the transit agency.</p><p></p><p>Additionally, the North-South Rail Link, which would connect North and South stations, would most likely need federal funding to become a reality. Just to conduct a study on the rail link and its cost and benefit to riders, will cost up to $2 million.</p><p></p><p>Few states could use infrastructure spending more than Massachusetts, a state that relies to a great degree on 19th century subway system and early 20th century roads and bridges. Let’s hope the President and members of both parties in Congress can finally come together and agree on one important issue. If they can, revitalizations like the one that occurred in Somerville can spring up across the state.</p><br><p></p> Trump Budget Proposal: What it Means for Development Projects in 2017 Show Edit Destroy
166 <p>Initiated in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the month of May is observed as National Preservation Month across the United States. Events that work towards promoting heritage, tourism and the cultural and economic advantages of preserving historic places are held throughout the month co-sponsored by local preservation groups.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="78" alt="image1" src="" height="100"></a> <p></p> <p>By <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Haycon</a></p><p><br></p><p>Initiated in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the month of May is observed as National Preservation Month across the United States. Events that work towards promoting heritage, tourism and the cultural and economic advantages of preserving historic places are held throughout the month co-sponsored by local preservation groups. These events help create awareness about historic places and monuments in and around the city.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="image4" src="" height="480"></a> <p>The reading room of the Boston Public Library’s McKim Building in Copley Square, built in 1895.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>There are 57 properties and districts that have been designated the title of National Historic Landmarks in Boston, including the Boston Naval Shipyard, the Boston Public Library, the Boston Athenaeum and the African Meeting House. There are several reasons why historic properties should be preserved and cared for. Historic properties have intrinsic value; they tend to be built using high quality materials such as rare hardwoods and wood from forests that no longer exist, making these properties rare and exquisite. Furthermore, the architecture of old buildings is more intricate and customized compared to many buildings built now, making them a delight for local residents and tourists alike.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="image2" src="" height="387"></a> <p>The intricate interior of a historic South End row house restored by Haycon.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Boston’s historic properties evoke the city’s culture and complexities and help tell the rich story of our legacy and heritage. Boston’s historic buildings are a straight representation of our heritage and culture, and preserving these buildings represents our commitment to remembering and learning from the past and continuing to build a sustainable future. Restoring historic properties and ensuring their continued contribution to the local economy can be a powerful tool for sustaining local commerce, creating jobs and generating capital. Preservation is also an effective method for promoting sustainability and avoiding wastage of energy. When a historic building is demolished, the community loses the value of materials, resources and labor used to build it. In many cases, restoring and redeveloping historic buildings uses less energy and materials and is more cost-effective than demolishing the building and building from the ground up.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="784-Tremont-1" src="" height="566"></a> <p>The exterior of 784 Tremont Street, a historic South End row house restored by Haycon.</p> <p><br></p> <p>The government recognizes the importance and sustainability of preserving historic buildings; the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive encourages the private sector to invest in the restoration and redevelopment of historic buildings and offers a tax credit in return, reducing the amount of tax owed. The government issues a 20% tax credit for the rehabilitation of certified historic properties that have the potential to produce income, and a 10% rehabilitation tax credit that equates to 10% of the total amount spent on rehabilitation of a non-historic property built before 1936.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="1902-1904-Washington-1" src="" height="460"></a> <p>The exterior of 1902-1904 Washington, a historic&nbsp;South End mixed-use building restored by Haycon.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Hiring an expert general contractor with experience in historic preservation is the key to a successful restoration and redevelopment project. Such a general contractor will help evaluate a property’s suitability for renovation and the appropriate methods through which restoration can be executed using approved replacement construction materials and cutting down on unnecessary costs. An experienced general contractor will also be well-versed in obtaining necessary approvals for modifications to historic properties, which are protected by a number of official regulations.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="558" alt="117-Centre-1" src="" height="640"></a> <p>The exterior of 117 Centre Street, a historic Roxbury home restored by Haycon.</p> <p><br></p> <p>There are various criteria and specific standards for rehabilitation of any property listed as historic. The current condition of historic features will be evaluated to determine the appropriate level of intervention needed, and which characteristics should be kept and which are insignificant. Replacement of intact materials or repairable historic material, or alteration of features, spaces and spatial relationships that are primary characteristics of a property, must be avoided. Distinctive materials, features, finishes and construction techniques or exemplary examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be retained and preserved, in addition to any later changes to a property that have acquired historic significance.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="626" alt="image5" src="" height="640"></a> <p>The exterior of the 1887-built Philip Munroe Residence in Cambridge, restored by Haycon.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Recently, the State of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs started the #ThisPlaceMatters social media campaign, encouraging people to take pictures with buildings and properties of historic value to increase awareness and gather public support for preserving various properties. The #ThisPlaceMatters campaign is educating the public about the importance of preserving and restoring historic properties in a way that honors of the property’s history and background. Historic properties endorse a sense of belonging and familiarity that locals can associate with and are a proud symbol of the city we have built, and hence should be restored and redeveloped in a way that ensures this familiarity and pride does not disappear.</p> <p><br></p> <blockquote><p>Boston World Trade Center, home to .<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">@NESEA_org</a> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">#be16</a> , will stand for centuries. Amazing masonry! <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">#thisplacematters</a> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p>— Dwayne Fuhlhage (@DwayneFuhlhage) <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">March 9, 2016</a></blockquote> <p>A #ThisPlaceMatters tweet noting the intricacy of Boston’s historic World Trade Center in the Seaport District</p> National Preservation Month: A celebration of Boston’s rich architectural heritage Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p>The kitchen countertop is arguably one of the most distinguishing features of a kitchen. And, more importantly, it may even well be the first thing a potential buyer notices when viewing a unit in your finished development.<br></p> <p>The kitchen countertop is arguably one of the most distinguishing features of a kitchen. And, more importantly, it may even well be the first thing a potential buyer notices when viewing a unit in your finished development. It will become the basis for which the home produces, plates and entertains the food of his/her life, and the people that make up a part of that equation. Long story short: kitchen countertops are super important. And, you definitely want to get the type that fits the lifestyle of your buyers accordingly. Recent innovations in the industry relay a handful of new, interesting alternatives that are both sustainable and low-maintenance. However, you might find that your buyer demographic is best suited to something more traditional material wise.<br></p><p>So, with this in mind --- here's your multi-unit kitchen countertop definitive buying guide.</p> <h3><b>SURFACE MATERIALS:</b></h3> <h3>GRANITE/QUARTZITE </h3> <p>Pros: Hard to damage; lasts for ages. Consumer Reports tells us that it can handle the bottom of a hot pan, the score of a knife, and even the spill of red wine. </p><p>Cons: Pricey. Similarly, granite does need to be resealed at least once a year. Furthermore, edges and corners can chip easily. </p><p><img width="278" alt="" src="" height="417"> <img width="282" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><h3>MARBLE</h3><p>Pros: A classic kitchen countertop appeal. Looks beautiful in more traditional kitchen settings. Has a timeless sense and an unmistakable warmth to it. </p><p>Cons: Marble is EXTREMELY porous. Consequently, a messy chef, or a busy kitchen should steer away from this surface material. For, marble surfaces are expensive and easily stained, chipped, and/or scratched. </p><p><img width="320" alt="" src="" height="433"> <img width="289" alt="" src="" height="434"></p><p><img width="614" alt="" src="" height="409"></p><h3>ENGINEERED STONE</h3><p>Engineered stone, also known as "quartz", is often a blend of quartz stone-chips, resins, and pigments.</p><p>Pros: Engineered stone is arguably the most universally loved counter top surface of the moment. It takes heavy use and abuse extremely well. With that said, engineered stone surfaces require very little upkeep and never have to be sealed. Similarly, it is waterproof. And, because it is an engineered surface --- one can choose from an abundance of colors and patterns.</p><p>Cons: Like the above mentioned materials, quartz can also chip and crack at the edge and corners of its application. Also, Consumer Reports mentions that some find the patterns of certain model slabs to be "unnaturally uniform".</p><p><img width="201" alt="" src="" height="252"> <img width="406" alt="" src="" height="271"></p><h3>LAMINATE</h3><p>Pros: Laminates are inexpensive and mimic the look of their more pricey counterparts (granite for example). Furthermore, laminate is also relatively easy to upkeep: stain resistant, impact and heat resistant. Laminate is easy to clean.</p><p>Cons: Laminates are NOT waterproof. Thus, water can seep down to the paper-like core of the surface and weaken the overall material. Additionally, while laminates are stain resistant, they can easily be scratched and nicked. Laminates cannot be repaired. </p><p><img width="274" alt="" src="" height="362"> <img width="316" alt="" src="" height="421"></p><h3>SOLID-SURFACE </h3><p>Polyester or acrylic resins combined with mineral fillers. <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Solid surfacing</a>&nbsp;imitates natural stone countertops, as well as concrete, glass, and even engineered quartz. </p><p>Pros: Less expensive than natural stone and more durable than laminate. Non-porous, and hygienic. </p><p>Cons: Scratched and scores easily.</p><p><img width="272" alt="" src="" height="408"> <img width="311" alt="" src="" height="407"></p><p><img width="593" alt="" src="" height="395"></p><h3>CONCRETE</h3><p>Pros: Trendy, and looks interesting. <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Concrete surfaces</a>&nbsp;can be dyed/pigmented. Highly customizable option. </p><p>Cons: Concrete can chip, crack, and develop hairline fractures easily. Consumer Reports mentions that topical sealers can protect against stains. Similarly, penetrating sealers can be applied to the surface in order to help with wear coming from heat in the kitchen. </p><p><img width="246" alt="" src="" height="329"> <img width="246" alt="" src="" height="329"></p><p><img width="537" alt="" src="" height="352"></p><h3>STAINLESS STEEL</h3><p>Pros: Non-porous, and effectively lends itself to the "commercial kitchen" look. Stainless steel surfaces can be buffed out so that it looks as though it is seamless. Stainless steel is most notable resistant to heat and stains.</p><p>Cons: Stainless steel dents and scratches easily. </p><p><img width="220" alt="" src="" height="330"> <img width="360" alt="" src="" height="240"></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><h3>BUTCHER BLOCK/WOOD</h3><p>Pros: Warm in appearance, and ideal for someone who enjoys food preparation.</p><p>Cons: Extremely porous, and requires a decent amount of upkeep. However, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">butcher blocks</a>&nbsp;can be easily repaired.</p><p><img width="320" alt="" src="" height="447"> <img width="278" alt="" src="" height="352"></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="393"></p><h3>TILE</h3><p>Pros: Tile is relatively inexpensive and easy to repair. It also maintains heat nicely. Thus, tile is often seen around a stove. Consumer Reports mentions that buying extra tiles at the time of original purchase/installation guarantees for ease-in-repair of localized cracks down the road.</p><p>Cons: The grout that holds the tile in place is likely to stain. However, darker grout options can lend themselves to preventing exceptional staining. Furthermore, tile can chip and crack in some places. </p><p><img width="246" alt="" src="" height="369"> <img width="320" alt="" src="" height="480"></p><h3>ULTRA COMPACT (DEKTON) </h3><p>Dekton, an ultra-compact material, brought to market by Cosentino, is one of the newer countertop surfaces. Dekton is comprised of quartz, porcelain and glass.</p><p>Pros: Non-porous and easy to maintain. Relatively durable in regards to heat + scoring from something like a knife. </p><p>Cons: Less than satisfactory results when hit with heavy impact: Consumer Reports found that it could go as far as crack down the middle if a pan were to fall from a high enough up cabinet. </p><p><img width="320" alt="" src="" height="427"> <img width="284" alt="" src="" height="426"></p><p>For more information on countertops, or to inquire about your own project visit Divine Design Center online at <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""></a>&nbsp;or inside our showroom at 2 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 02109. Call us at (617) 443-0700.</p><p>~Madison Silvers</p><p></p> KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS IN YOUR DEVELOPMENT, A DEFINITIVE BUYING GUIDE Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>As housing prices skyrocket and more and more neighborhoods become gentrified working and middle class people are feeling the squeeze.<br></p> <p></p><p>As housing prices skyrocket and more and more neighborhoods become gentrified working and middle class people are feeling the squeeze. &nbsp; Today, median monthly rent in Boston is nearly <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$2,500 per month</a>, a rate that requires annual income of $100,000 to live comfortably. &nbsp; Meanwhile, the 2015 median household income for Boston was just under <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$80,000</a> – and that includes the increasing number of wealthy neighborhoods, from Back Bay to the South End to parts of South Boston, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. In other less affluent neighborhoods, rents remain high but wages are far less than the $80,000 median. </p> <p>Greater Boston faces a real crisis, not just of homelessness (though that has more than doubled in Massachusetts during the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">past 9 years</a>), but of people simply paying too much just to keep a roof over their heads.</p> <p>Recent events in Somerville, for instance, illustrate the problem. Once a blue-collar community, the cost of even a condo in the city now nears a million dollars. Median rents for a three bedroom condo have reached <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$3,400</a>.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Maxwell&#x27;s Green in Somerville"><img src="" width="520" height="310" alt="Maxwell&#x27;s Green in Somerville"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p><p>The city’s housing pressure cooker finally boiled over in 2016, when the Board of Aldermen, seeking a quicker fix to the lack of reasonably priced homes, increased the number of affordable units that residential developers needed to build in their large projects from <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">12.5 percent to 20 percent</a>. Developers of many large-scale projects, especially those building at Assembly Row and Union Square, protested, saying that the requirement was too draconian and not financially viable. The result: a compromise at Assembly Row, at least, in which Federal Realty Investment Trust, agreed to make 16 percent of their units affordable ones – some at Assembly, others in key parts of the city. As part of the negotiation, the developer agreed to pay the city $10.3 million to finance the remaining units elsewhere in Somerville.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Montaje at Assembly Row in Somerville"><img src="" width="640" height="461" alt="Montaje at Assembly Row in Somerville"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p><p>The Somerville story is a cautionary tale for developers, who in the months and years ahead are likely to find increasing pressure to build affordable units with their developments. &nbsp; Fortunately, some state and local efforts are easing the pressure in some communities. </p> <p>Chapter 40B, an affordable housing rule that has been on the books since 1969 but has been used even more aggressively in recent years, has yielded approximately <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">80 percent</a> of Massachusetts’ affordable housing developments outside the major cities, with nearly 60,000 units built in the Commonwealth since the law’s enactment.</p> <p>In Boston, the city has awarded <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$22 million</a> in new funding for ten affordable housing developments in Greater Boston. The funding followed the mayor’s Boston 2030 housing announcement, outlining his goal of creating 53,000 new units of housing, including <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">6,500</a> new units of affordable housing, in the city by 2030 as well as supporting “Boston’s Way Home,” his plan to end chronic homelessness by 2018.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="The Beverly in Bulfinch Triangle"><img src="" width="640" height="379" alt="The Beverly in Bulfinch Triangle"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p><p>One example of Boston’s headway toward this goal is <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">The Beverly</a>, currently under construction, which will be Boston’s first all-affordable apartment complex in more than 25 years. Set for completion in January 2018, the development will be located in downtown Boston, and 100 percent of the units will be for households earning between 30-165 percent of Boston’s median income.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Ink Block in the South End"><img src="" width="640" height="377" alt="Ink Block in the South End"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p> <p>But even as these efforts are yielding more units, Boston itself has forced developers to include more affordable units. All of the Boston Housing Authority’s luxury apartment complexes are required to include at least 13 percent of their residential units as affordable. High-end complexes such as Millennium Tower, Avalon North Station and Ink Block Apartments (all of which are JM Electrical projects) were required to have affordable units.</p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Avalon North Station in Bulfinch Triangle"><img src="" width="640" height="424" alt="Avalon North Station in Bulfinch Triangle"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p> <p>As Greater Boston’s many neighborhoods work to reach their affordable housing requirements, developers will be expected to do more and more to meet these ambitious goals. While it may come at some substantial cost for builders of buildings large and small, it may be the only way Boston and the surrounding area will maintain its middle class, a goal nearly everyone agrees is worth pursuing.</p><p></p> With Housing Prices Rising, Developers May Be Under Increasing Pressure to Address Affordable Housing Need Show Edit Destroy
166 <p>When undertaking a building development in the expensive Boston real estate market, ensuring construction methods are at their most efficient is a critical aspect to maximizing return on investment.<br></p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="78" alt="logo" src="" height="100"></a> <h5>By Haycon</h5> <p><br></p> <p>When undertaking a building development in the expensive Boston real estate market, ensuring construction methods are at their most efficient is a critical aspect to maximizing return on investment. Utilization of wood framed construction for mid-rise buildings, typically constructed from steel or concrete, is on the rise. Literally. Current building code allows building a six story building with a base platform of steel or concrete, which typically means one story of concrete or steel and up to five stories of wood framing. As soon as this month, the new IBC (International Building Code) guidelines are anticipated to allow a change whereby a two-story steel or concrete platform is used to support an additional five stories of wood framing, totaling seven stories. Some developers have had success in the Boston area obtaining zoning variances presently given the impending change. The impact for developers looking to value engineer construction costs and maximize return on investment should prove significant.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="1065Tremont" src="" height="334"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">1065 Tremont Street</a>, a newly constructed wood-framed building built by Haycon.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>Overall, the changes in regulation allow for more agile and expedient construction using wood framing. Generally, wood frame construction is faster and less expensive, as product is readily available. Wood is lighter than steel or concrete, and allows for more nimble platform design. A wider subcontractor base in the Boston area allows for cost comparison and lowered risk of schedule delays due to subcontractor availability.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="PortsideAtEastPierTwo006" src="" height="425"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Portside at East Pier Phase Two</a>, a new wood-framed development under construction on the East Boston Waterfront.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>Advances in construction technology further contribute to efficiencies in building Type 3 construction. For example, the increased availability in panelized floor and wall assemblies offers many benefits to developers. Pre-fabrication allows for higher quality control in a factory setting, not subject to weather delays. Panelized construction also reduces waste of material and results in less clean-up time on site.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="40FisherAve001" src="" height="425"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">40 Fisher Avenue</a>, a wood-framed building under construction in Mission Hill.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>Of course, no construction method is without some limitation. Use of wood framing in mid-rise construction lessens the amount of ‘clearspan’, or clear open space without structural columns or supports, versus the use of steel or concrete. This is less of a concern in residential applications. Further, close attention must also be paid to the Fire Rating of materials to meet stringent fire code requirements. Finally, insulation between floors should be carefully planned to limit noise transmission between units. </p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="Landing-53-Luxury-Apartments-Downtown-Braintree-MBTA-Commuter-Rail" src="" height="426"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Landing 53</a>, a wood-framed building under construction in Downtown Braintree.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>As developers continue to incorporate green building techniques into Boston mid-rise construction, it is important to note the benefits of wood framing versus steel, concrete and masonry, which have a higher carbon footprint. In fact, timber construction has been touted by the Department of Agriculture as a “climate-change mitigation tool.” Wood is a renewable resource and, with responsible forestry methods in place, is a more sustainable product.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="Portland-Wood-High-Rise" src="" height="487"></a> <h5>A 148-foot-tall wood-framed high-rise coming to Portland, Oregon.</h5> <p><br></p> <p> For all these reasons, wood framed construction is on the up and up. Industry innovators in Architecture and Engineering are proposing more high-rise designs utilizing primarily wood framing. Just recently in Portland, Oregon, a 148-foot wood framed building was issued building permit, with many more wood high rises under consideration for future endeavors all over the United States and around the world.</p> Maximizing ROI: Achieving Added Height with Wood Framing is on the Up and Up thanks to New Building Code Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p><b></b>As the Boston Globe recently observed, the awarding of the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles reminds us of our own tumultuous and controversial bid for the 2024 games.<b></b><br></p> <p><img width="460" alt="side_walshjpg" src="" height="307"></p> <p>Above: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh</p> <p>As the Boston Globe <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">recently observed</a>, the awarding of the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles reminds us of our own tumultuous and controversial bid for the 2024 games. &nbsp;One of the benefits of that bid is our city would have been pushed to rethink how to make better use of key parcels throughout the city. As the Globe noted, there is certainly no reason why we can’t engage in such a process anyway, which is what Mayor Martin Walsh is trying to do with his ambitious Imagine Boston 2030 plan.</p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Imagine Boston 2030</a> is a program designed to reach out to residents across the city of Boston and gather input on how to expand opportunity for residents, sustain a dynamic economy, enhance quality of life, and put actions in place to prepare for climate change.</p> <p>Some 15,000 residents have participated over the past two years, and the final plan was released last month. It represents Mayor Walsh’s vision for the city of Boston over the next decade as it accommodates more jobs and a larger population. The plan encompasses a range of topics including affordable housing, education, jobs and the economy, health and safety, energy and the environment, and open space, among others.</p><p>The plan has several elements that are critical for developers and builders, notably its call for investment in six neighborhoods: Sullivan Square, Fort Point Channel, Suffolk Downs, Readville, Beacon Yards and Newmarket and Widett Circle, which had already been marked for redevelopment had the Olympic bid gone through. It also includes substantial plans for the Shawmut Peninsula, Fairmount Corridor and the waterfront. </p><p>The major themes in each case were to capitalize on public transit, create more open space and encourage walking and biking by improving upon the streets, as well as develop additional mixed-use buildings and strengthen industrial uses. At the same time, the plan is an attempt to anticipate a population boom in the city, as it is expected to rise from its current population of <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">656,000 up to 724,000 by 2030</a>.</p><p>The Imagine Boston plan includes a commitment by the city to invest $2.08 billion in capital over the next five years to key development initiatives. &nbsp;About 77 percent of the city’s funds are already allocated for projects already underway, but much of it is still for the six neighborhoods targeted in the report. </p><p>For example, the Shawmut Peninsula will receive $20 million for improvements to make the area more walkable and bikeable. Sullivan Square will see a $14.8 million investment for a redesign of Rutherford Ave addressing climate, transportation and congestion, and a $165 million investment for the North Washington Street Bridge. Fort Point Channel will be allocated $4.2 million for the South Bay Harbor Trail to connect parts of the city. Readville will see a $1.4 million investment for Wolcott Square traffic signal improvements. And $7 million will go toward Martin’s Park to invest in open spaces for kids and families on the waterfront.</p><p>Not only that, but Widett Circle, which had been in the plans for redevelopment in preparation for the Olympics, is also in Mayor Walsh’s plans in Imagine Boston 2030. Part of his vision for this area is to preserve its critical industrial uses and enhance its connection to neighboring areas through housing growth and transit-oriented jobs.</p><p>Though the city is no longer in the running for an Olympic bid, it is still possible to accomplish many of the infrastructure changes that would have come with it. With the structure put in place outlining the key areas to be addressed from now until 2030, Boston is poised to continue its development into a dynamic economy with an enhanced quality of life for all residents.</p><p></p> Imagine Boston 2030: Walsh’s Impact on the Future of the City Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>Recently, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that it had concluded public hearings on a proposed new edition of the state building code.<br></p> <p>Recently, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that it had concluded public hearings on a proposed new edition of the state building code. Over the past several weeks, residents and local professionals from across the state weighed in on proposed changes, creating the ground rules for developers, homeowners, architects and property managers to abide for the foreseeable future. And now, the feedback from hearings and over 200 pages of public amendments are has been reviewed by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS). Once filed with the Secretary of State, projects will be expected to comply with the ninth edition code effective January 2, 2018.</p><p>While the new building code may not generate big headlines, updating the code is a critical public service, and essential to any community’s growth and development. Almost always, these updates are intended to improve standards for important issues such as the structural integrity of buildings, the quality of water systems, and the required levels of energy conservation. For anyone working or living in Massachusetts, a build code has quiet imprints on our quality of life.</p><p>Building codes also offer a unique perspective regarding a region’s development. One glance at the skyline underscores the obvious: the Boston development community is in the midst of one of its largest building booms. From examples like Fenway’s Pierce Boston to the upcoming General Electric headquarters in Innovation Point, the latest iteration of the state building code aims to sustain the current growth, while ensuring safety will continue to be prioritized. &nbsp;</p><p>Today, the International Building Code (IBC) is in use or adopted in all 50 states, setting basic guidelines to protect buildings, people and property from fire, storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Nevertheless, most states produce their own &nbsp; codes to complement the IBC. And, generally, the ninth edition reflects a consensus that – increasingly – there are fewer occasions to supplement the IBC. Still, there are a few pending examples where the latest local code updates should make life easier for developers and Massachusetts construction industry.</p><p>Coastal A zones are areas designated as special flood hazards. The Seaport – with its close proximity to the Boston waterfront – is an example. Previously, the higher likelihood of wind and storm activity limited the options for development in Coastal A zones. The updated code reassesses that, tapering the code’s previous caution and making it more palpable for development.</p><p>The new state code will now also reflect the IBC’s cues on podium construction, as well as tall wood structures. Podium construction—or pedestal/platform construction—refers to multiple levels of light-frame construction over a level of fire resistant base. (Think of parking garages or retail.) In Massachusetts the current code is based on an older version of IBC and does not allow two story podiums. Recent changes in the IBC code allow six and seven story structures to be constructed in wood, as opposed to strictly concrete.</p><p>Likewise, recent advancements in fire prevention and technology have enabled heavy timber to be used over steel and concrete frames, a welcome change for builders who often favor wood because it is lighter, stronger, and less expensive. The Massachusetts building code will now follow the guidelines set in the 2015 edition of the IBC, to maximize the number of stories, and – hopefully - lower construction costs.</p><p>Boston’s recent building surge is unique for several reasons, including the growing, statewide emphasis on sustainability. Last year, Massachusetts was named the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">most energy efficient state</a>&nbsp;in the nation for the sixth consecutive year, and during this time the state had <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">136 properties</a>&nbsp;spanning 24.4 million square feet that were LEED certified, including the recently completed Serenity Apartments overlooking Olmsted Park. With an updated building code, Boston should anticipate higher standards for sustainability.</p><p>BBRS members have now convened inside One Ashburton Place in downtown Boston to –approve final contents of the state’s building code. With a new code now firmly in place for 2018 and beyond, it should provide a helpful set of guidelines that promoter innovation and growth in our state without losing sight of the need to promote public safety.</p><p></p> Massachusetts Building Code Updates' Impact on Local Development Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>Earlier this summer, Governor Baker doubled down on the state’s tremendous success in the life sciences by asking lawmakers to approve a new five-year, $500 million life sciences investment. Since the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center was launched with an initial 10-year, $1 billion initiative in 2008, Massachusetts solidified and enhanced its reputation as a major hub for research and development. The state now has nearly 1,000 life sciences companies, with roughly 68,000 workers. Of the Commonwealth’s 12 initial public offerings last year, all but three were in the life sciences sector.<br></p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="50" alt="JM-Electrical-logo" src="" height="50"></a> <p><b>Powered by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</b></p> <p><br></p> <p>Earlier this summer, Governor Baker doubled down on the state’s tremendous success in the life sciences by asking lawmakers to approve a new five-year, $500 million life sciences investment. Since the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center was launched with an initial 10-year, $1 billion initiative in 2008, Massachusetts solidified and enhanced its reputation as a major hub for research and development. The state now has nearly 1,000 life sciences companies, with roughly 68,000 workers. Of the Commonwealth’s 12 initial public offerings last year, all but three were in the life sciences sector.</p> <p><br></p> <p>By now, most people can identify the underpinnings of this success: great research institutions, a quality workforce, a finance infrastructure that understands the industry’s needs. Currently, the Boston-Cambridge area represents more than one third of the industry’s venture capital funding, outpacing even San Francisco in terms of annual biotech funding from venture capital companies.</p> <p><br></p> <p>Clusters of companies working in close proximity to neighborhoods such as Kendall Square, Longwood Medical and – most recently – the Seaport have also fueled the industry’s collaboration and growth. Vertex Pharmaceuticals initially put the Seaport on the map as a life science hub after building a new world headquarters at Fan Pier in 2011. Since then, several others have followed suit, including Intarcia Therapeutics on Marina Drive, as well as Emulate, Inc. and Ginkgo Bioworks, both in the up-and-coming Innovation and Design Building on Drydock Ave. The newly-reimagined Seaport neighborhood is now the fastest growing part of Boston, stimulating significant economic growth in the city – approximately 5,000 new jobs have been created in the Innovation district, and over 200 new companies have already been formed.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="Vertex" src="" height="512"></a> <p>The 1.1-million-square-foot Vertex Pharmaceuticals headquarters in the Seaport District, featuring electrical installation by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</p> <p><br></p> <p>What’s often overlooked is another key component of this success: a development and contractor community that knows how to build the lab spaces and other buildings these companies need. &nbsp;Life science spaces rely on sophisticated systems to keep labs at particular temperatures and to let technicians know when problems arise. The contributions of this region’s developers, builders, and subcontractors - who understand the precision and expertise needed to meet this industry’s special construction requirements – are quiet factors for why Greater Boston’s life science industry remains world-class. </p> <p><br></p> <p>Building biotech facilities requires specialties that the average electrical contractor or construction company in other parts of the country simply may not possess. Increasingly, companies are looking to contractors with expertise in these environments, ensuring these highly complex systems are done correctly. This includes special installation requirements, specialty lab control systems that deal with sensitive work environments and, occasionally, special protocols to complement these installations. </p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="BU CILSE" src="" height="427"></a> <p>Boston University's new Center for Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering, featuring electrical installation by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</p> <p><br></p> <p>The Boston development industry is continuing to enhance its technical expertise in this area, which enables companies like JM Electrical to keep up with the requirements of these facilities while adding to established service offerings. Particularly with increasing projects at higher education facilities, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, the building community is experiencing firsthand the reinvigorated demands of the life science boom here in Boston, requiring increased staff as well as field personnel to ensure that all installations are done on time and on budget. </p> <p><br></p> <p>It’s important to recognize just how rare this is. Even some of the country’s most flourishing towns and cities simply lack the local talent to support an industry as sophisticated as Massachusetts’ life science sector. While many here in Boston have become experts in these projects, others areas have had limited exposure. The expertise that many in this market have should not be dismissed when developers are looking to build new life science facilities. Servicing life science facilities with our brand of sophisticated installation and technical expertise has become a touchstone for JM Electrical, and other companies in Greater Boston. And as the building boom continues, working at high-profile, multi-use developments like Pfizer at 610 Main Street in Kendall Square or projects such as Boston University’s Center for Integrated Life Sciences &amp; Engineering provides the building community with first seat access to the growing evolution of the state’s innovation infrastructure. For the next biotech building going up in the region, it’s important that all contractors possess the knowledge and experience needed for this increasingly sophisticated market.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="427" alt="Pfizer" src="" height="640"></a> <p>The recently completed Pfizer headquarters in Kendall Square, featuring electrical installation by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</p> Boston Development’s Edge in the Life Science Market Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p>ALTAMAREA BATHROOM BOUTIQUE: WORSHIPPERS OF THE MODERN SPA<br></p> <h2>ALTAMAREA BATHROOM BOUTIQUE: WORSHIPPERS OF THE MODERN SPA</h2> <p>Modern baths are on the rise. But, fans of traditional aesthetic appear excluded from all of this newfound innovation. However, one company, in particular, presents modern designs for both classic and contemporary consumers. <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Altamarea Bathroom Boutique</a>&nbsp;parlays this desperate curiosity for eclectic tastes. Furthermore, the company celebrates its seventeenth year in production and hails from Italy. Subsequently, the founders of Altamamarea find experience in their former role as suppliers for luxury heavy-hitters in European design. Thus, the company's stringent adherence to quality, unique perception, and the environment propel them into the spotlight under modern baths sun. This article navigates two modern baths with alternating contemporary and traditional design elements.<br></p><h3>1. VOLO GREEN</h3><p>Instinctually, the Volo Green collection beckons modern-design applause. However, one element that ultimately distinguishes this bath from the rest is its compliance to low-impact production. The "eco-friendly" design of the Volo Green derives from its materials. Altamarea collaborated closely with Paperstone® to ensure not just quality, but a reflection of environmentally driven results.</p><h4>THE STRENGTHS OF PAPERSTONE®</h4><p>According to Altamareal. Paperstone® is:</p><p>• From natural and recycled materials</p><p>• Recyclable</p><p>• Without phenols and does not emit formaldehyde</p><p>• Resistant to compression, tensile, bending and impact</p><p>• Water-resistant and waterproof</p><p>• Hygienic, easy to clean and spot-proof</p><p>• Fireproof (A class of reaction to fire) and is flammable only above 170° C</p><p>• Resistant to scratches and use</p><p>So, not only does the Volo Green collection from this bathroom boutique comply with functionality and form in its design, but subsequently finds appeal in its eco-friendly foundations as well.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img width="788" alt="Altamarea modern baths volo green paperstone eco friendly sustainable design eco conscious bathroom vanity modern vanity modern bathroom modern design interiors interior design designer italy italian design altamarea bathroom black brown white" src="" height="519"></p><p><img width="792" alt="Altamarea modern baths volo green paperstone eco friendly sustainable design eco conscious bathroom vanity modern vanity modern bathroom modern design interiors interior design designer italy italian design altamarea bathroom black brown white" src="" height="612"></p><p><img width="792" alt="Altamarea modern baths volo green paperstone eco friendly sustainable design eco conscious bathroom vanity modern vanity modern bathroom modern design interiors interior design designer italy italian design altamarea bathroom black brown white" src="" height="558"></p><h3>2. MUST</h3><p>While modern parameters find solace in Altamarea's Must collection, the following spa relies heavily on traditional appeals. Consequently, Altamarea transfers the traditional and the transitional via rich countertop materials and vibrant colors. Luxury is redefined through shaped tops anti drops, 45-degree joints, precious heat-treated wood, drawers in colored aluminum with a soft closing, and tops with marbles and precious stones.</p><p><img width="794" alt="Altamarea modern baths volo green paperstone eco friendly sustainable design eco conscious bathroom vanity modern vanity modern bathroom modern design interiors interior design designer italy italian design altamarea bathroom black brown white onyx marble must collection must altamarea" src="" height="492"></p><p><img width="792" alt="Altamarea modern baths volo green paperstone eco friendly sustainable design eco conscious bathroom vanity modern vanity modern bathroom modern design interiors interior design designer italy italian design altamarea bathroom black brown white onyx marble must collection must altamarea traditional style transitional style" src="" height="558"></p><p><img width="792" alt="Altamarea modern baths volo green paperstone eco friendly sustainable design eco conscious bathroom vanity modern vanity modern bathroom modern design interiors interior design designer italy italian design altamarea bathroom black brown white onyx marble must collection must altamarea traditional style transitional style" src="" height="612"></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For more information on Altamarea modern baths, visit <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Divine Design Center</a>&nbsp;at 2 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 02109 or call (617) 443-0700.</p><b><p></p></b><p></p> 2 MODERN BATHS FOR TRADITIONAL + CONTEMPORARY TASTES Show Edit Destroy
283 <p>It is well known that the construction industry is one of the most sensitive industries to economic cycles.<br></p> <p><img width="624" alt="httpswpzillowstaticcom2bigstock-Boston-Massachusetts-skyline-59251685-b15919jpg" src="" height="413"></p><br><p>It is well known that the construction industry is one of the most sensitive industries to economic cycles. The most recent recession exemplified this fact; between 2006 and 2010, employment in the construction industry sank 25%, leading to 2.5 million jobs lost according to Andrew D. Paciorek, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB)’s Senior Economist. The table below shows data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on this change in construction employment:</p><br><p><img width="450" alt="httpslh4googleusercontentcomobWYtjeTXNxarSYyFwb9BaJu3V87b7VG5LJJQY9EaCF8gM7qUKQMvPt3KCkipvHyXK9MKQk75CCi-_4W0N1Ja22zLdUKX9f_YpjUvA7RmII8SohEhsy8BaG-w8bYweiKZ-qSlEJtDqqpPm2XWw" src="" height="185"></p><br><p>If we look further back, the Center for Construction Research and Training states that from 1992 to 2010, payroll employment in the construction industry experienced more expansion and contraction than any other non-farming industry. These ups and downs are well documented, and expected. After a downturn, we start to see a gradual increase in employment and construction, which ultimately leads to a once again flourishing industry. Today, though, we are seeing a different landscape than in previous cycles. Though construction volume has increased, employment increase in construction has lagged behind.</p><br><p>According to the FRB, during the 1981-1982 recession, 22% of construction jobs were lost, which was only 3% less than our most recent recession. By the end of the 1980s, though, employment in the sector was back to its previous full employment numbers. Today, over a decade since the recession of 2008 began, the national worker shortage in construction is still high. Per Paciorek of the FRB, many construction workers who became unemployed during the 2008 recession “flowed out to employment in other sectors of the economy,” with this new outflow from the industry “roughly [doubling] during the bust.” This is in congruence with statements by Anirban Basu, chief economist for the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Basu recently indicated that the construction industry nationwide is still in need of over 500,000 workers.</p><br><p>In addition, an aging population is leaving many construction jobs, and younger generations are not replacing them. A recent national poll of 18 to 25 year old people conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that the majority of young adults (74%) know which career they want to pursue, yet of that majority, only 3% are interested in working in construction. Furthermore, NAHB found that of the 26% of young adults who do not know what career to pursue, 63% responded that there was little or no chance they would consider working in construction.</p><br><p>According to Jerry Howard, NAHB’s CEO, the construction workforce can be split into two categories, domestic and international. Many members of the international workforce have returned to their home countries, where improved economic conditions have allowed for more comfortable living.</p><br><p>Through the last century, higher education has become more accessible than ever before, leading to more basic jobs requiring higher education. This has no doubt put a stigma on laboring jobs that do not require a college degree. The pay of a construction laborer is also much lower than the average college graduate. According to U.S. News, the median construction worker makes $31,910 annually; with Time Magazine reporting that the average pay for an individual with a bachelor's degree is $50,556. Given the social and economic pressure put on young adults, construction jobs have become a seemingly unappealing profession.</p><br><p>Despite the serious national shortage in construction labor, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ construction industry is performing surprisingly well. According to FRB economic data, Massachusetts is at the very top of the chart for construction employment as of March 2017. The state has over 150,000 individuals employed in the construction industry. This peak in construction employment coincides with Massachusetts’ overall unemployment of 3.1%, a 16-year low. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) published statistics on Massachusetts that show an unprecedented 5,300 construction jobs being added from July 2016 to July 2017. Even in 2016, a total of 3.2 million construction man hours were logged on major development projects, a 9.6%, or almost 280,000 man hours, increase from 2015.</p><br><p><img width="623" alt="httpslh4googleusercontentcomkOsDYZyFNXkr32--zEmEy8eSbr8H5w-WQsaEzpi1PhMZ-S6mmC5hcuIx3mDWSvDt_flV1UHBDBLmOtbVPjf59zx88kg8ZEXCJwhg2Yu4iTdGxW-UOAWGHaRzBqqLEZUf9fvTwffc" src="" height="400"></p><p>A graph depicting the year-over-year increase in construction spending from 2012 to 2017.</p><br><p>With the recent worldwide surge in urbanization, new development projects, and associated construction jobs, will continue to accelerate. According to the International Organization for Migration, an estimated three million people migrate to cities globally each week, and the United States is no exception. As leaders in various industries, like General Electric, move their offices and corporate headquarters from suburbs to cities, cities across the country are now seeing record population growth, fueled in particular by young professionals seeking to live close to work. Furthermore, many technology startups are choosing to plant their roots in cities, where there is abundant opportunity for networking and business growth, creating additional jobs.</p><br><p>The increased demand for urban housing and office space is putting new pressure upon cities to build dense, sustainable buildings, which will inevitably lead to continued growth in construction jobs. Whether young people will choose to work in construction, and help fill this demand, will be a major part of what determines whether cities will be able to continue growing in the long term. However, with growth in robotics and automation on a steady upward trend, it is likely that in the coming years we will see new technologies that will perform certain construction tasks with limited, if any, human intervention. Already, robots and 3D printers are being used to construct smaller buildings, and a bricklaying robot designed by Construction Robotics is being used on a number of United States job sites to construct masonry and facades, increasing productivity significantly. Technology will likely take much pressure off of the construction workforce in the coming years, increasing builders’ capacity and ensuring that cities can keep up with increasing demand for new space even as the construction industry falls out of favor amongst young people.</p> The State of Labor Supply in the Construction Industry Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p><b></b>For years, building sports stadiums – particularly in urban areas – has been touted as an economic panacea by some and as overhyped economic boondoggles by others.<b></b><br></p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="Sports-Stadiums-Rebuilding-Local-Neighborhoods-Enhancing-Local-Economies-Fenway-Boston-JM-Electrical-Company-Incjpg" src="" height="415"></p><h6>Aerial view of Fenway Park, a centerpiece of Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. (Courtesy Philip Greenspun)</h6><p>For years, building sports stadiums – particularly in urban areas – has been touted as an economic panacea by some and as overhyped economic boondoggles by others. &nbsp;Critics noted that sports facilities, particularly those that were funded with taxpayer dollars, often failed to generate much financial benefit, in part because they were only being used on limited number of days per year. &nbsp;</p><p>However, since the construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards on a former railroad yard in Baltimore a quarter century ago, many sports franchises – in conjunction with public and civic institutions – &nbsp;have successfully used stadiums to spur revitalization and growth. &nbsp;</p><p>The Boston area is one example of stadiums fueling growth rather than leaving an area with a desolate, isolated, often-empty sports arena. &nbsp;The TD Garden redevelopment in 1993 initiated a redesigned North Station – later expanded in 2007 – and the facility continues to be a hub for surrounding residential developments during a recent surge of renovations. Most recently, there have been discussions of a potential North Station Tower – an office tower that would be built next to the Garden – which is part of Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone’s multi-city pitch along the Orange Line for Amazon’s second headquarters. Buildings are being put up all around the Garden now, including the new Converse facility and The Hub on Causeway.</p><p><img width="624" alt="The-Hub-on-Causeway-Mixed-Use-Development-Bulfinch-Triangle-Boston-TD-Garden-North-Station-Boston-Properties-Delaware-North-John-Moriarty-and-Associates-Constructionjpg" src="" height="351"></p><h6>A rendering of The Hub on Causeway, under construction along Causeway Street in front of TD Garden and North Station, upon full buildout. (Courtesy Gensler)</h6><p>Less than five miles away, the Fenway area has undergone one of the most dramatic transformations in recent history, in part fueled by the Red Sox organization’s commitment to make the ballpark area a true year-round destination. &nbsp;Though it is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, its rehabilitation and expansion has brought concerts, hockey games, football games and other events to the old bandbox.</p><p>Today, restaurants, sports-themed bars, movie theaters and major retailers surround the area. Since 2004, Samuels &amp; Associates, a major Boston development firm, has built three residential towers including fancy rooftop decks and ground-floor retail, most recently the 30-story Pierce – a residential building at the corner of Boylston and Brookline. Samuels, along with other developers in the area, have created (and continue to build) a lively, bustling neighborhood in the Fenway-Kenmore area.</p><p><img width="624" alt="19955168_699371620250678_8099573142114009088_njpg" src="" height="327"></p><h6>An aerial view of some dense developments that have been built in the Fenway neighborhood since 2004. (Courtesy The Harlo)</h6><p>In a more unique situation, last September, the Bruins practice facility – Warrior Ice Arena along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Brighton – was completed, helping to jumpstart the already growing Boston Landing area. Around the same time, the Celtics broke ground on their new practice facility – The Auerbach Center – right next to the Bruins’ facility, which is set to open in June 2018. Both sites are open to the public for skating and hockey lessons for all ages. Boston Landing is also home to New Balance’s world headquarters, along with retail, restaurant and hotel space. There was also a new commuter rail stop built along with the Boston Landing development, and Bose has recently committed to leasing 98,000 square feet of office space there as well. The development has added jobs, additional transportation, residences and entertainment to Allston-Brighton, rejuvenating the area.</p><p><img width="624" alt="The-Auerbach-Center-New-Balance-Boston-Celtics-Practice-Facility-40-Guest-Street-Brighton-Boston-Landing-Development-Elkus-Manfredi-Architects-Renderingjpg" src="" height="325"></p><h6>A rendering of The Auerbach Center, as viewed from Guest Street. (Courtesy Elkus Manfredi Architects)</h6><p>Finally, in an example of a stadium transforming a more suburban location, the Patriots have transformed Gillette Stadium, built in 2000, into a year-round sports, shopping, and dining mecca. &nbsp;Not only do the Patriots sell out all of their games, but the stadium also serves as home to concerts as well as Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution. </p><p>With such a large audience at Gillette and seeing the potential for a greater hub in Foxborough, The Kraft Group created Patriot Place, an open-air shopping center built around Gillette Stadium, in 2007. The center features more than 1.3 million square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment space to host events for the whole family. With Patriot Place came several roadway and intersection improvements to ease traffic, helping to bring new growth and an expanding tax base for the town and the region at large.</p><p><img width="624" alt="ViewMedia" src="" height="468"></p><h6>Aerial view of Gillette Stadium. (Courtesy Constellation Energy)</h6><p>With new, innovative approaches to sports facilities, team owners, developers and local officials have finally figured out how to make stadiums not just places where people venture for a small number of games but true year-round destinations, helping to create vibrant commercial centers as well as places for people to live, work and play. &nbsp;Going forward, developers should continue to think more about how best to create not just playing fields but true neighborhoods and destinations. &nbsp; </p><p>In creating an environment of entertainment, the economy sees benefits not only from the arenas themselves, but from the dynamic neighborhoods they help create.</p><p></p> Sports Stadiums: Rebuilding Local Neighborhoods, Enhancing Local Economies Show Edit Destroy
1603 <p><b></b></p><p></p><p>As one of the United States’ original 13 colonies, Massachusetts and its’ cities and towns have experienced ups and downs over time that have shaped not only our culture, but our built environment that prevails to this day. </p><b><p><br></p></b><p></p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="NPSpictures-001jpg" src="" height="347"></p><p>Downtown New Bedford. (Source: Destination New Bedford)</p><br><p>As one of the United States’ original 13 colonies, Massachusetts and its’ cities and towns have experienced ups and downs over time that have shaped not only our culture, but our built environment that prevails to this day. Previous generations have left usable, architecturally significant infrastructure that is fit for modern reuse and expansion, particularly within Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities, mid-sized urban centers surrounded by key natural resources and located convenient to major cities such as Boston. Many Gateway Cities, for instance Lowell and Lynn, are ideally positioned along commuter rail lines with their own stations, allowing for easy access from across the State by residents and workers alike.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="Gateway-city-map-e1495549413951jpg" src="" height="400"></p><p>Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities. (Source: MassINC)</p><br><p>Cities across Massachusetts such as Brockton, Lowell and New Bedford were at one point centers of industry full of well-paying jobs that were a “gateway” to the American dream. However, as manufacturing declined nationally, gateway cities lost prominence accordingly. In 1970, 19.5 million jobs were in manufacturing nationally; today, about 12.4 million jobs remain in manufacturing according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is worth noting that the national population has simultaneously increased by over 120 million since 1970, according to US census data.</p><br><p>As Massachusetts’ economy has shifted towards skill-centered knowledge sectors that have established their roots in the City of Boston and along the Route 128 corridor, many manufacturing jobs have been lost statewide. This has left Gateway Cities with difficult economies and lasting social challenges. Many once-significant properties remain vacant and underutilized, and crime in many Gateway Cities is notoriously rampant.</p><br><p>In recent years, economic and social change has taken place throughout Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities. The national push towards urban environments, increased state support for investment and Massachusetts’ strong entrepreneurial culture have increased demand for Gateway Cities’ untapped infrastructure. During Deval Patrick’s administration, $2.5 billion was invested into Gateway Cities from 2008 to 2014 according to state reports. Private investment has also helped these regions grow.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="The-Vault-30-Willow-Street-Central-Square-Lynn-Apartments-For-Rentjpg" src="" height="480"></p><p>The Vault, a new luxury apartment and retail development set within Downtown Lynn’s historic Flatrion Building.</p><br><p>With increased demand and government support, private development in Gateway Cities is now flourishing. <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">South Coast Improvement Company</a>&nbsp;has spearheaded a number of transformative projects in the gateway city of New Bedford, revitalizing previously untapped eyesores with new energy. South Coast managed the construction of New Bedford’s <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Moby Dick Brewing Company</a>, a new 4,300-square-foot bistro, bar and brewery. Built within an old, abandoned building in the city’s center, Moby Dick Brewing Company is now a culinary pillar in New Bedford’s historic district, bringing beer aficionados across the region to the city’s burgeoning downtown.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="Screen_Shot_2017-10-30_at_120630_PMpng" src="" height="413"></p><p>Moby Dick Brewing Company.</p><br><p>South Coast is currently building Union Street Hotel, a 68-room, 46,600-square-foot boutique hotel developed by Columbus Group with a 3,300-square-foot restaurant and 5,100-square-foot banquet space in the heart of New Bedford. The expansive project replaces a notorious nightclub and long-vacant office space with a positive force that will create numerous construction jobs and long-term positions for New Bedford’s growing economy. Once complete, the hotel and restaurant are expected to employ 50 people, a step in the right direction for New Bedford’s economy.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="Rendering-of-New-Downtown-New-Bedford-Hotelpng" src="" height="416"></p><p>Union Street Hotel, located at 218-226 Union Street</p><br><p>Union Street has also just seen the renovation and revival of two historic buildings into a co-creative center called The WHALE. Located in the heart of Downtown New Bedford, the $2 million, 10,000-square-foot project, which was built by South Coast Improvement Company to state-of-the-art passive house sustainability/efficiency standards, fully restored the 100+ year old contiguous buildings. The project created ground-floor retail spaces, gallery space and a Co-Make space featuring rentable space for creatives to create a variety of projects. On upper floors of The WHALE are office space and apartments. With a diverse mix of uses, The WHALE will bring new creative energy to Downtown New Bedford and have lasting impact upon the City’s activities, economy and culture.</p><br><p><img width="616" alt="" src="" height="462"></p><p>The WHALE, located at 139-141 Union Street.</p><br><p>Columbus Group has also converted New Bedford’s long-underutilized and formerly dilapidated Standard Times Building, located at 555 Pleasant Street, into a creative office building home to startups and technology companies such as IoT Impact Labs. As space in Boston, Cambridge and the Route 128 corridor becomes all the more expensive, Gateway Cities and their abundant available building stock will likely play a key role in continuing to support Massachusetts’ innovation economy, providing space for increased housing, office and retail development.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="20140701-Rowland-NewBedford-15jpg" src="" height="415"></p><p>555 Pleasant Street.</p><br><p>Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities have a lot to offer. Independent think-tank MassINC, which has established the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute to advance business and policy initiatives within Gateway Cities, cites benefits including affordable housing, untapped infrastructure, desire to grow and a youthful, upwardly mobile workforce. Though New Bedford is a great example, Gateway Cities across the state are experiencing this same kind of revitalization. As evidenced by Lynn’s upcoming 1.5 million-square-foot <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Gear Works Redevelopment</a>&nbsp;and the under-construction mixed-use <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Thorndike Exchange</a>&nbsp;development in Lowell, both of which are located adjacent to MBTA commuter rail stations, Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities are experiencing major shifts in their economies as they move beyond their industrial pasts and forward into more modern economic pursuits.</p><p></p> Why The Future of Massachusetts Lies Within Its’ Gateway Cities Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>As Boston experiences its biggest building boom in decades, public spaces remain a high priority and often the focus of conversations about the city’s revitalization.</p> <p>As Boston experiences its biggest building boom in decades, public spaces remain a high priority and often the focus of conversations about the city’s revitalization. Developers – continually on the hunt for areas to build out – are mindful of the importance of public use and access to open space in the Seaport District and other burgeoning urban neighborhoods.</p> <p>In fact, over the past year or so, the Boston Planning &amp; Development Agency (BPDA) has encouraged those submitting building proposals to include more public spaces, as recently noted by the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Globe</a>. As a result, developers are emphasizing these essential spaces within their design proposals and responding to BPDA requests while aiming to meet the increasing desire for attractive, accessible public spaces.</p> <p>Recently, there have been several noteworthy public space developments in Boston courtesy of private owners, underscoring this new trend. These are quietly remaking the city’s landscape, providing residents and visitors with renewed ways to enjoy urban environments.</p> <p>1. Lookout Rooftop and Bar at Envoy Hotel</p> <p>Open to the public in June 2015, Envoy Hotel’s Lookout Rooftop and Bar in the Seaport District sits on the eighth story of the hotel, offering panoramic views of Boston’s scenic skyline and harbor. In the warmer seasons, the rooftop is filled with tables, couches and fire pits. During the winter and early spring, Envoy introduces its pop-up igloo bar – six heated igloos complete with seating and fleece blankets – where guests can order a drink with just the press of a button.</p> <p>2. Harborwalk at Pier 4</p> <p>Pier 4, a commercial and residential development project currently under construction in the Seaport, is creating new public space along Boston’s Harborwalk. Long known as a prime location where citygoers spend free time in the spring, summer and fall, the Harborwalk currently consists of a 38-mile path along the waterfront. This fall, however, Pier 4 will unveil a new public space along the Harborwalk, extending it to 47 miles, and featuring a series of six-foot-wide terraces, or “sea steps,” from which strollers can more closely view the waterfront. In addition, developer Tishman Speyer will be adding a range of native coastal plants and dunes reflecting beaches across New England to enrich the public‘s experience.</p> <p>3. Shopper’s Plaza at Millennium Tower</p> <p>This past summer, the developer of Millennium Tower in Downton Crossing, opened Shopper’s Plaza. Adjacent to Millennium Tower, this welcoming open airspace features elevated seating, otherwise known as “The Steps,” as well as benches where office workers and tourists gather. The nearby historic Tower Clock features a touch screen display that helps visitors and locals alike view and search hotels, shopping and dining destinations in the city. The public is able to enjoy musical performances at The Steps year-round. This comfortable space invites friends, family or coworkers to gather during seasonable weather.</p> <p>4. Plaza at Bulfinch Crossing</p> <p>This 2.9 million-square-foot, multi-phase development project is currently under construction at One Congress Street in Bulfinch Triangle. The new development will replace the existing Government Center Garage with six multi-use buildings, as well as a public plaza spanning 4.8 acres. Located at the center of the East Parcel, the public plaza—which includes a nine-story office building, a small retail building and a hotel/condo – connects the Greenway, Congress Street and Bulfinch Triangle, enabling pedestrians to enjoy a scenic walkway and shortcut through this high traffic area.</p> <p>5. Plaza at Echelon Seaport</p> <p>Echelon Seaport, one of the largest construction projects in Massachusetts, will consist of three mixed-use towers on a 1.3 million square foot, 3.5 acre parcel at B Street and Seaport Boulevard in the City’s Innovation District. It will also include a 19,000-square-foot, landscaped plaza accessible to the public, creating more green space in the Seaport and providing a new social setting for those who live and work nearby.</p> <p>6. Great Hall at Winthrop Square Tower</p> <p>Millennium Partners has recently begun razing the long-vacant parking garage in the heart of the Financial District to prepare the site for construction. Plans for this residential and commercial tower include a 12,000-square-foot public space named Great Hall, which will span the first three floors of the building. When complete, Great Hall will feature restaurant, retail and meeting space, creating a new connection between Winthrop Square and Federal Street.</p> <p>7. Harbor Way promenade at 121 Seaport</p> <p>Upon 121 Seaport’s completion in March of this year, its base will contain Harbor Way, a 70-foot-wide pedestrian retail promenade located between 101 and 121 Seaport Boulevard. This 20,000-square-foot promenade will feature an interactive museum celebrating the history of the Seaport’s development. The idea for the museum arose after remains of a 50-foot wooden ship, built sometime between the late 18th and mid-19th century, were noticed by an employee of Skanska, the company building the project at 121 Seaport. In light of the discovery, the museum will include an augmented-reality exhibit about the shipwrecked vessel, which caught fire and sank on its trip from Rockland, Maine to South Boston.</p> <p>8. Common area at Cambridge Crossing</p> <p>Currently under construction, Cambridge Crossing will include a 45-acre, 4.5-million-square-foot mixed-use development located at the intersection of Cambridge, Somerville and Boston. Developer DivcoWest included 11 acres of public green space in its plans for the project, which will be highlighted by a central common area. It will also feature footpaths and protected bike lanes, all enabling easy accessibility between neighborhoods for pedestrians living and working in the area.</p> The 8 Most Unique Open Space Locations in Boston Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p><b></b>As 2017 comes to an imminent close, we have time to reflect on the kitchen trends that will spearhead their way from the present and into the New Year.<b></b><br></p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p><i>By Madison Silvers<i>, Divine Design Center</i></i><br></p><p><i>December 5th, 2017</i></p><br> <p>As 2017 comes to an imminent close, we have time to reflect on the kitchen trends that will spearhead their way from the present and into the New Year. 2018 beckons a new wave of buyers and homeowners; thus, we learn the who, the what, the where, and the why of the evolving tastes and the desired amenities rooted in a successful development and its units’ sales. This new buyer feels the pulse of the city, and has the age of the internet at his/her fingertips. They are an educated buyer, and they require the gambit of comitys associated with the luxury kitchen-design market. This new buyer is savvy to the upper echelon of kitchen brands, and the au-currant of what’s trending now: </p><p><br></p><p>1. The Kitchen Island – The kitchen island continues to become of increasing importance in any new home. While the better part of the 20th century slated the kitchen as better to be hidden away, no longer does this still ring true. The adage, “food is life,” becomes more and more relevant within American culture, and the center of one’s home follows suit. The kitchen, where “life” comes to the foreground, culminates in the new-era of entertaining space within the home. Subsequently, present and future buyers are beholden to a large kitchen island. If the space allows for it, the larger the island the better. Similarly, seating around said island, or a space allotted for bar stools and etc. is paramount in the initial design stages of the island and surrounding kitchen. </p><p><br></p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><p><br></p> <p>Additionally, we see a call for integrated island sinks. The previous conception of one’s back to the party, or the kitchen hidden away from the evening’s festivities, is as antiquated as the nuclear family from the mid-20th century is presently. Now, the homeowner can and desires to entertain while still carrying out kitchen tasks presented throughout any hypothetical evening’s dinner party. Hence the island sink.</p><p><br></p> <p>2. Pantry and Storage Space – While more pantry and storage space in the kitchen might not be a new discovery, the necessity for well-planned-out storage is at the forefront of buyer needs and demands in the luxury market. So often do we find beautiful kitchens with a serious lack-there-of storage space, and buyers are noticing this too. The solution lies in maximizing storage with pull-out drawers and shelving for the pantry and kitchen accessories. </p><p><br></p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src=""></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p><br></p><p>3. Integrated Cabinet Lights – Integrated cabinet lights continue to surface in kitchen design as the call for contemporary, minimalist design paves the way for future developments. Integrated and under cabinet lighting alleviates the bulk of additional cords hanging in the kitchen while also lending itself to a clean, sleek look desired by the “new buyer” so inherent in 2018. </p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src=""></p><br><p>4. Open Floor Plans – Admittedly, we’re all tired of hearing the buzz phrase (i.e. open floor plans). However, the desire for mixed-use spaces is far from tiring out. 2018 will continue to necessitate the integration of kitchen to living room, or kitchen to dining room, and/or the kitchen’s ability to flow into and from the dining room and other living spaces. </p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><br><p>5. Color Trends – 2018 furthers the development of the white and bright kitchen trend. This desire from the market’s consumer stems from the reactionary feeling of openness brought on white, off white and warm greys. Thus, a developer’s introduction of a white kitchen enunciates a larger space, than typically realized, were the kitchen appropriated in a darker color scheme. Thus, this color trend optimizes large-scale multi-unit buildings on the rise. </p><p><br></p><p>Furthermore, while we still have an appreciation for a solid, white-centric color scheme, the introduction of wood (solid or veneered) cabinetry dispersed within the space also works itself in the cemented trends of 2018. </p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src=""></p><p><br></p><p>Lastly, buyers find reprieve in texture within the kitchen. Subsequently, kitchen cabinets are showing a mix of matte and gloss finishes within the space. </p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p><br></p><p>6. Countertop Trends - Moving along, the question of countertops is a huge factor in not just a single family home, but also for the success in a multi-unit development. And, with this in mind, buyers are trending towards engineered stones, as opposed to all-natural surfaces (such as marble and quartzite), due to the fast-paced, urban lifestyle they keep. Engineered stones require far less upkeep, and are subsequently less-porous than that of a marble surface.</p><p><br></p><p> <img width="624" alt="" src=""></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src=""></p><p><br></p><p>For more information on <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Divine Design Center</a>&nbsp;and their work on developments in the Boston area, follow the link <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">here</a>.<br></p><p></p> 2018 Kitchen Trends for High-End, Luxury Developments Show Edit Destroy
1603 <p>While all development projects require careful consideration of a legion of complex factors, project management becomes all the more convoluted and complex when coordinating an occupied renovation.<br></p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><h6>Above: Common space at Maplewood at Weston, a recently completed senior housing occupied renovation project by South Coast Improvement Company.</h6><br><p>While all development projects require careful consideration of a legion of complex factors, project management becomes all the more convoluted and complex when coordinating an occupied renovation. Foremost consideration must be placed upon creating the least disruption to occupants’ and users’ quality of life. Facilities such as offices, retail stores, government and educational institutions and senior housing complexes must meet satisfactory standards of operation during renovations, despite not being operational to full capacity. Furthermore, occupant safety and convenience are both paramount, and must be prioritized during any occupied renovation project.</p><br><p>Many institutions publish strict and thorough regulations and standards for work in occupied buildings, not leaving occupants vulnerable to compromise and ensuring utmost health and safety. Construction work must all take place while paying close attention to maintenance of regular quality of life and keeping the building clean. In order to do so, construction managers must work with building owners in occupied renovation projects to designate appropriate laydown areas for equipment, establish a construction phasing schedule that allows for unencumbered building operations, establish safe alternate routes during construction and maintain building conditions that are healthy for residents and users.</p><br><p>Acceptable indoor air quality is essential to workplace safety on any renovation job site. But, air quality maintenance becomes substantially more complicated when taking on the renovation of an occupied space. The State of Massachusetts has enacted <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">stringent guidelines</a> to uphold the safety, health and well being of those occupying spaces during construction, preventing dangerous risks in indoor renovation and construction such as dispersion or off-gassing of health-hazardous particulates into the air. Airborne contaminants are easily transported beyond work areas via heating, ventilation and air conditioning vents, potentially exposing occupants to these volatile organic compounds (VOCs).</p><br><p>The free movement and dispersal of VOCs into indoor air is problematic on any worksite, but is especially endangering to vulnerable elderly populations. Renovation of occupied senior living facilities, therefore, requires more than the typical end-of-day “broom clean” to suffice for overall cleanliness. Air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums and dust control measures must be employed to minimize occupant exposure to VOCs. And cleaning, on this broad scale, cannot only be an end-of-day or end-of-shift occurrence. Rather, it must take place on an ongoing basis throughout the entire day to ensure protection of assisted living residents, who are more sensitive and susceptible to illness and injury caused by VOCs than the general population. Some elderly residents may already be immunocompromised or have respiratory deficiencies before work begins, so the most conscientious attention to proper clean-up procedure is wholly necessary. </p><br><p>Moreover, subcontractors brought onto occupied renovation jobs have to be fully aware of the sensitive environment that is a senior living facility. Factors such as noise control assume a level of necessity not characteristic of other job sites. Accordingly, subcontractors must be well-versed in techniques such as muffler use, careful equipment placement and noise enclosure, and construction managers must effectively coordinate and oversee subcontractors. Wet methods for drilling and cutting masonry surfaces, which create excess dust, must also be employed in order to restrict as much dust emission as possible.</p><br><p>Low VOC emitting caulks, sealants, coating, adhesives and so forth are utilized in senior living occupied renovations in order to preserve the highest possible indoor air quality. And relatedly, ducts in work areas must be blocked off to avoid VOC transport to occupied areas. Furthermore, subcontractors must possess a general understanding of the physical environment of senior living facilities. Access routes may be improvised, but foot traffic in occupied corridors cannot be inhibited or cluttered in any way, whether it be by equipment or otherwise. Well-planned phasing in a senior living environment is especially imperative, as work affects both residents and staff. The job has to be broken down into workable areas to minimize adverse impact, and tight schedules must be met to complete work as soon as possible for minimal disruption to residents.</p><br><p>New England-based design, construction and construction management firm <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">South Coast Improvement Company</a> has performed a number of occupied renovation projects, all of which required careful planning and coordination throughout. South Coast recently completed a $2.5 million renovation of <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Maplewood at Weston</a>, a 22-bed luxury senior living community, in which common areas were thoroughly updated with new finishes, lighting, flooring and electrical systems, and the existing community’s facade and roof were both redesigned and refaced. Consecutively, a new two-story foyer was constructed, and a waterfall was installed in the community’s main lobby. All this was done while implementing a comprehensive construction management plan that resulted in efficient completion of the project, and limited interruption to the community’s day-to-day operations.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><h6>Above: A newly constructed communal kitchen area at Maplewood at Weston.</h6><br><p>South Coast also recently concluded the first phase of a $3.1 million occupied renovation of common spaces at the 167-unit <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">New Pond Village Walpole</a> retirement community, newly acquired by Benchmark Senior Living. The first phase entailed a full renovation of the community’s main and formal dining areas, including installation of new finishes, painting, electrical work and demolition of pre-existing walls to create a more open floor plan.</p><br><p>In order to create the new state-of-the-art dining area, a section of the original dining area was kept open throughout construction so as to ensure all meals were served to residents. The dining area section will be renovated as part of the project’s second phase, which will renovate the remainder of the ground floor, remodeling the existing hair salon, auditorium, country store, bank and physical therapy room and adding a new bar area and massage room. During the first phase, electrical system replacement requiring a shutdown took place in the middle of the night for residents’ convenience, a practice that will continue during the project’s second phase.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="467"></p><h6>Above: Dining space at New Pond Village Walpole, renovated by South Coast Improvement Company while the senior living community was occupied.</h6><br><p>In the education sector, the constant movement of students and professors around campus and constant event programming also require careful construction coordination during an occupied renovation. During South Coast’s recently completed $240,000 renovation and expansion of office space at Boston University’s <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Questrom School of Business</a>, which was performed during the academic year, South Coast had to be mindful of busy staff and students and accommodate their schedules. Accordingly, South Coast performed most major work, including framing, concrete pouring, drilling, cutting, coring and fire alarm installation, off hours between 5 PM and 8 AM. Daytime hours were used for quieter tasks such as painting and electrical work, delivery of construction materials and measurements.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="468"></p><h6>Above: Office space at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, renovated by South Coast Improvement Company during regular school operations.</h6><br><p>As more existing real estate assets change hands and undergo renovations, and longtime landlords upgrade their properties to the latest specifications, occupied space renovations will continue to be key methods of improving properties and creating 21st century real estate for housing, work, education, retail and other uses. While occupied renovations are complicated undertakings that require significant consideration, planning, arrangement and execution, in the long run, an occupied renovation can be a better, more efficient and more moral option than evicting or relocating tenants, or halting programming. With due attention paid to details, occupied renovations ensure that facilities are able to continue to operate, and business as usual is not inhibited, while improvements are made.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="467"></p><h6>Above: A senior living unit renovated in an occupied renovation by South Coast Improvement Company.</h6> The Art of the Occupied Renovation Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p><b></b>The ongoing growth of the Boston development market has spurred an increased desire for convenient luxuries by city dwellers, resulting in a battle of amenities.<b></b></p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p><b></b></p><p>The ongoing growth of the Boston development market has spurred an increased desire for convenient luxuries by city dwellers, resulting in a battle of amenities.<br></p><br><p>As one example, the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Globe recently noted</a>, the city is currently gripped by a roof-deck craze in not only residential towers, but office spaces and other multi-unit buildings. &nbsp;In order to remain competitive, developers are offering anything from in-house gyms to sky top pools. &nbsp;</p><br><p>Take Pierce Boston – one of the city’s newest luxury residential buildings in the Fenway Area. Aside from its location near an array of restaurants and retail stores, the Pierce offers its own special perks: &nbsp;a sky deck with a kitchen and gas fireplace and a pool; a fitness center with a yoga studio in the building; and for those who enjoy a more secluded experience, there is a private dining room with a fireplace and private sky cabanas. </p><br><p><img width="624" alt="pierce-amenities-img-05jpg" src="" height="351"></p><p>The sky lounge at Pierce Boston.</p><br><p>In addition to those amenities, the Pierce offers 24/7 concierge service for all residents. The complex also accommodates commuters with both indoor garage parking and indoor bike storage. And for pet owners (millennials are now the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">primary pet-owning demographic</a>), there is a dog spa in the building as well.</p><br><p>Each of these amenities make the Pierce a strong competitor in the Boston housing market as residents become more demanding in expecting &nbsp;more out of their substantial investment or their monthly rent than just four walls and a glittering new kitchen.</p><br><p>Avalon North Station – a residential building in Boston’s North End neighborhood, adjacent to the TD Garden – also offers several amenities to stay competitive in the city’s housing market. &nbsp;It offers a roof deck and sky pavilion lounge and, like the Pierce, it holds a fitness center, on-site garage parking, a place to take care of all your pet needs, and more. Additionally, it is just feet away from the North Station T stop and commuter rail, offering easy access around and outside the city. &nbsp;</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="North-Station-Renderings-4jpg" src="" height="389"></p><p>The sky pavilion at Avalon North Station.</p><br><p>Although apartment buildings like Pierce Boston and Avalon North Station are examples of the city’s luxury craze, apartment complexes in smaller neighborhoods are offering similar services to keep up with a demanding market.</p><br><p>Lumiere – a high-end apartment development in Medford, just 20 minutes outside the city – is keeping up with buildings like Pierce and Avalon, offering a pool with a sundeck, a lounge area, fitness center, direct access garage, and more. It is also pet friendly, smoke free, and located right near an MBTA stop for convenient commuting needs.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="54493ddbbdf1c462jpg" src="" height="468"></p><p>The pool at Lumiere.</p><br><p>Similar to Lumiere is Trac 75 – one of the newest housing projects in Allston – which offers the usual array, including a roof deck with views of the city, a fireplace lounge, gym, dog spa, and media room. Trac 75 also offers bike parking, ZipCar on-site, enclosed parking, and is steps away from the Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="0496075001481647198png" src="" height="420"></p><p>The roof deck at Trac 75.</p><br><p>From the Seaport to Somerville to Jamaica Plain and even Allston, developers are including all possible amenities in order to attract tenants. This amenities race is pushing the city to create new modern, upscale residences, in turn sustaining Boston’s status as one of the fastest growing and most livable metropolitan areas in the United States.</p><br><br><p></p> The Boston Housing Market’s Battle of Amenities Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p>As the old adage goes: out with the old, and in with the new. And, never has the saying been so true for Divine Design Center.<br></p> <p>By Madison Silvers</p><p></p><p>October 11th, 2017</p><p><br></p><p><img width="582" alt="DDC 137 Walden Street Cambridge MA Oct 6 2017Photography Keitaro Yoshioka 037" src="" height="741"></p><p><br></p><h4>THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING:</h4><p>As the old adage goes: out with the old, and in with the new. And, never has the saying been so true for Divine Design Center.</p><p>When the Divine showroom picked up and started anew in its’ Battery Wharf Showroom, its’ designers weren't entirely convinced that new projects from old Boston Design Center prospects would follow suit. However, for Divine designer Samantha DeMarco, these fears proved steeped in anything but reality. Especially when fate came a-knocking a little less than a year ago, here at the Divine showroom.</p><p>With modern design on the rise, and a legion of developers in the Boston area expanding their scope, the renovation of this unique home, located on Walden Street in Cambridge, was a designer girl's dream come true.</p><p><img width="666" alt="DDC 137 Walden Street Cambridge MA Oct 6 2017 Photography Keitaro Yoshioka 024" src="" height="444"></p><p><img width="665" alt="DDC 137 Walden Street Cambridge MA Oct 6 2017Photography Keitaro Yoshioka 004" src="" height="444"></p><h4><br></h4><h4>FROM FORM TO FUNCTION:</h4><p>Samantha worked closely with the "hands-on" developer in creating a kitchen design for both units inside the Walden Street renovation, both of which were cutting edge, yet cost-effective.</p><p>The final concept included spectacularly-lit niche shelving and an unexpected marriage of both gray and black cabinetry from <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Leicht</a>.</p><p>Speaking of Leicht Cabinetry, the decision to use the German kitchen designers for this development was obvious. There are still few in the cabinet game that do the sleek cabinet design, and do it right!</p><p><img width="310" alt="Concept 40 Cabinets Gif" src="" height="465"></p><p>For example, take Exhibit A of the above "Concept 40" cabinets implemented on this project by lead designer Samantha DeMarco.</p><p>According to Leicht, "with Concept 40, the term 'wall units' has been newly defined. The design principle is the flat covering of the total wall space above the worktop. The horizontal line is achieved with 40 cm high front runs. As a special design feature, these fronts have grip rails in a stainless steel look at the bottom or are color powder-coated. More handle types are not available. Electric damper drives are optionally available. They can be combined with or without grip rails. Concept 40 was developed as “stand-alone” planning unit and was deliberately not made to match tall unit heights."</p><p><br></p><h4>BEAUTY IN THE DETAILS:</h4><p>In a similar vein to the Concept 40 Cabinets, Samantha, alongside her client, paid special attention to other sound elements associated with contemporary design.</p><p><img width="594" alt="hayes2" src="" height="439"></p><p>For starters, the designer proposed <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Sillite outlets for the kitchen island</a>. The integrated modern outlets meet building code (for outlets on an island), while also maintaining the clean appeal desired by modern inquirers, and designers alike.</p><p><img width="563" alt="hayes3" src="" height="413"></p><p>Second, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Leicht's trademark handle-less cabinets</a>&nbsp;played an integral part in the detail-oriented + final effect in the finished look.</p><p><img width="585" alt="hayes1" src="" height="355"></p><p><img width="651" alt="hayes4" src="" height="395"></p><p>Angled-cornered cabinetry, an innovation from Leicht, alluded to the maximized addition of space in this development.</p><p><br></p><p>For more information on <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Divine Design Center</a>&nbsp;and their work on developments in the Boston area, follow the link <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">here</a>.</p> Divine Design Center Creates Cutting-Edge Custom Kitchen at Cambridge Multi-Unit Development Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>The last time you were stuck in traffic, you probably wondered if congestion could get any worse than it is in Boston.</p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p><img width="624" alt="boston-traffic-1jpg" src="" height="499"><br></p><h6>Traffic on Boston’s Interstate 93, notorious for traffic jams. Photo courtesy Bob O’Connor.</h6><p><br></p><p>The last time you were stuck in traffic, you probably wondered if congestion could get any worse than it is in Boston. The answer is yes – but not by much. Greater Boston ranks <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">seventh in the nation</a> for traffic congestion (average hours spent in traffic). The city itself has been rated the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=";index=18">18th most congested</a> city in the world.</p><p><br></p><p>More than <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">five million residents</a> travel within the Commonwealth each weekday, according to the state Department of Transportation. And Boston is seeing a surge of traffic as the Seaport, Fenway and downtown all experience building booms.</p><p><br></p><p>In response, the city and the state are seeking new and unconventional strategies – not only to de-congest morning and evening traffic, but to help in our region’s efforts to fight climate change. (State officials last month approved <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">new rules</a> to reduce the state’s carbon emissions 25% below 1990 levels within the next three years.) The solutions for both range from the familiar to the unusual.</p><p><br></p><p>For instance, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) recently announced a plan for a <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">rush-hour ferry service</a> between North Station and the South Boston waterfront. The implementation of the ferry service, which could potentially come by next spring, would create a more efficient means of transit for the nearly 4,000 commuters who go through North Station on the way to the Seaport each day.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="salemferry_introjpg" src="" height="416"></p><h6>A ferry on Boston Harbor. Photo courtesy Boston Harbor Cruises.</h6><p><br></p><p>Millennium Partners, a major Boston development firm, has suggested a strikingly innovative solution to congestion problems: an <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">aerial gondola</a> between South Station and the Seaport District. Trams of this kind have already been successful in New York and Portland, Oregon, among others. &nbsp;By removing 15,000 people from the streets, it would avoid additional ground level traffic and leave more space for those using other modes of transportation during their commute.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="Tourism Vision1png" src="" height="415"></p><h6>A proposed aerial gondola in Chicago. Rendering courtesy Crain’s.</h6><p><br></p><p>The city is also considering an even more creative strategy to reduce the number of cars moving around the city streets – <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">underwater parking garages</a>. &nbsp;With downtown surrounded by the Charles River, the harbor and Fort Point Channel, there is plenty of space to implement these unique structures, which could help reduce pollution and traffic caused by drivers circling the streets looking for parking and the congestion caused by double and triple parking. A side benefit would be the reduction in asphalt lots, which absorb large amounts of heat and, in turn, raise surrounding temperatures.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="amsterdamgarage1jpg" src="" height="344"></p><h6>An upcoming underwater parking garage in Amsterdam. Rendering courtesy Boston Globe.</h6><p><br></p><p>Finally, the city and the state are gearing up for the inevitable introduction of driverless cars, which a <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">new study</a> suggests could significantly reduce congestion and air pollution, as well as free up parking space. The report predicts that traffic could decrease between 11 and 28 percent, and that average travel time for commuters could be reduced by 11 to 30 percent.</p><p><br></p><p>Boston is not alone in combatting congestion. &nbsp;Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and others are all facing similar issues. With pressure growing to both ease congestion and make the cities more sustainable, new and innovative approaches will be needed for traffic control – and developers are now beginning to take notice and take action. The development community should both consider the effects of these changes when planning new structures and use its own creative capacity to help solve the issues faced by the city and the region. &nbsp;It’s not only a civic duty, but it will ultimately have a corporate impact as well, helping to make Boston a more attractive place to work, live, and play.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="charles-river-mainjpg" src="" height="333"></p><h6>Boston’s skyline along the Charles River. Photo courtesy Shutterstock.</h6><p></p> Combating Traffic Congestion: The City of Boston’s Innovative Solutions Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p>As we see the seasons begin to change, and a new year upon us, Divine Design Center shares with its readers exciting news. The Divine Battery Wharf showroom, which plays hosts to a barrage of award-winning designers and architects, celebrates a recent win for the international Global Kitchen Design competition. <br></p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p></p><p><i>By Madison Silvers, Divine Design Center</i><br></p><p><i>November 15th, 2017</i></p><br><p></p><br><p><img width="244" alt="" src="" height="162"> &nbsp;<img width="247" alt="" src="" height="164"></p><p><br></p><p>As we see the seasons begin to change, and a new year upon us, Divine Design Center shares exciting news: the Divine Battery Wharf showroom, which plays host to a barrage of award-winning designers and architects, celebrates a recent win for the international Global Kitchen Design competition. The Global Kitchen Design Award, sponsored by German cabinet-makers Leicht Kitchens, is polled from over 1,000 designs globally. Fortunately, our collaboration with Chadi Kawkabani and Francke I French Architects on the renovation of <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">29 Thorndike Street</a>, an architecturally-significant single-family home located in Brookline's Coolidge Corner, showcased the best in Boston’s German cabinetry applications, and provided the win for the best in American Leicht kitchens. While Divine Design Center’s senior designer Samantha DeMarco worked closely with Chadi and Francke I French in supplying sleek, modern imported cabinets for this riveting Dutch colonial’s reconstruction, we wanted to sit down with Chadi and Matthew Francke of Francke I French, two key players in this renovation’s success, to understand how modern development projects fit into an evolving Boston landscape.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="400" alt="CUsersMadisonAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsINetCacheContentWord29_Thorndike-9jpg" src="" height="266"> &nbsp;<img width="185" alt="" src="" height="263"></p><p><br></p><p>Divine Design Center (DDC): Explain your background in design and/or development + building:</p><p>Chadi Kawkabani (CK): My name is Chadi Kawkabani. I am a developer, and a custom builder. So, we custom build homes for people, and we also develop properties for sale. </p><p>Matthew Francke (MF): In 2001, I graduated with a professional degree in Architecture from Roger Williams University. &nbsp;I worked in Providence for about six years, before moving to Boston, where I began working at CBT Architects. &nbsp;It was at CBT that I met my future business partner Monte French, whom I worked alongside on a number of large scale mixed use developments here in Boston. &nbsp;In 2011, I left CBT and had the pleasure of working for Moshe Safdie Architects on one of the largest mixed use developments in the World. &nbsp;During my tenure at Safdie Architects, Monte had broken away and started his own firm, and before long in 2014, we had partnered up and Francke | French Architects was born. &nbsp;The combination of our experience through the years canvases just about all project types, sizes and services. </p><p><br></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><p><br></p><p>DDC: How did you find yourself as a developer working on the reconstruction of 29 Thorndike Street?</p><p>CK: We are always looking for interesting projects to dive into. And, this property came onto the market, or actually a family was looking to sell it. It had been with the family for decades. With time, though, the house was sort of stripped of its charm. Therefore, it needed a lot of work. So, we thought it was a challenging project to get into. It was a 2,500-square-foot house that we turned into roughly 4,800 square feet. The house was a Dutch colonial style, and it sort of sat on the lot in a strange way. It was challenging to work with the layout of the land. So, after speaking with our architects, we found that the best way to renovate this home was to take the house’s traditional Dutch colonial looks and add to it in a more modern, Swedish look.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="623" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><p><br></p><p>DDC: For the 29 Thorndike Street project, what was your immediate vision for the project, and how do you think that integrated into the ultimate needs of the developer?</p><p>MF: There isn’t always an immediate vision at first sight, or at least not an immediate vision that is entirely preserved through the design process, but in this case there was. &nbsp;We knew the existing home was over a century old, but when viewed at first sight, you wouldn’t know it. &nbsp;It was clearly and categorically a Dutch Colonial style, but had been stripped at some point of all of its distinguishing characteristics and period details, with the exception of the gambrel roof. Thus, it became immediately evident to give this poor home some of its original personality back, so it would stand proud amongst its neighbors again. &nbsp;This restoration became the primary driver, and we wanted to celebrate that effort. So, when faced with integrating a new addition, we decided that rather than add an addition that is perceived as a replication of a historic building typology that blurs the authenticity of this structure as it was originally conceived, we would create a contrasting composition that embraces the historic home and distinguishes itself as a reflection of now. &nbsp;</p><p>The ultimate needs of the developer is to sell their investment point blank. &nbsp;There is a lot at stake, and a lot of risk on their behalf, and as such, it is always our goal to appeal to a large enough group of interest. &nbsp;We accomplish this through thoughtful and deliberate execution, an attention to detail, and a design that is truly unique. </p><p><br></p><p>DDC: What do you think modern design adds on this project, and similar projects you are working on?</p><p>MF: The word modern can come with connotations that can have negative or over bearing meaning, or maybe thought of as “out of the ordinary”. &nbsp;To me, modern is really just reflecting the present time, current functional requirements, our current technologies, current building methods and materials, current cost trends, and current philosophies amongst many more. &nbsp;It is the conception and formulation of new ideas and imagination to keep up with the times. &nbsp;For instance, as I understand it, the Dutch colonial became popular in the 1920’s because the gambrel roof shape allowed for a very cost effective full height second floor, i.e. circa 1920’s current cost efficiency, functional requirements, building methods and technology. Therefore, the Dutch Colonial during those times was also “modern”, breaking away from its colonial revival predecessor. &nbsp;We are just doing the same for the 2010’s, and as such, many people embrace it.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="378" alt="" src="" height="567"></p><p><br></p><p>DDC: How do you think Boston is responding to the integration of modern design within such a traditional landscape of taste?</p><p>CK: Boston is a traditional place usually. You have a lot of red brick and New England colonial homes. So, what we try to do is look at the neighborhood and see what the people want. And, what we also try and do is see what people want both inside and outside of the home. A lot of times, we try and blend both. We also pull from experience with custom homes. Because, a lot of times we have a real strong pulse with what is happening when people are building for themselves, and that’s when they really have the choice to build what they want. So, a lot of developers, for instance, try to do these cookie-cutter homes with specific styles and specific layouts, because they don’t want to take too much risk. They want to appeal to the masses. And a lot of times, the taste changes. Sometimes, developers won’t change with that [evolving taste], or they won’t change as quickly as they should. However, our experience with building and as builders, we have a closer pulse to when things are changing and to what they want. We felt like with this property and with the specific demographics in the area, there was a need for something a little bit more modern. And, some of our developer friends were a little bit surprised by that. We were taking a risk by going more modern. But, we felt that we had a specific demographic in mind when we built this house. Along with a net of other, similar demographics as well. So, we decided that we will take a chance on this, and it really paid off. The buyer was very close to what we had imagined the potential buyer to be. </p><p>MF: Different strokes for different folks, it just wouldn’t be natural any other way. &nbsp;There should always be areas of preservation, and areas of evolution, with folks on both sides to protect and enforce them, Boston has it all.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="623" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><p><br></p><p>DDC: What do you think modern, European cabinetry adds to your projects that American carpentry might not? </p><p>CK: The quality of the product is wonderful. The design and the sensibility that comes with that stands out. A lot of people, what they do when they walk in is go, “oh wow.” You know, like a retail shopper. They will walk in and love something, but they won’t know why. And, a lot of times, it’s in the small details. Whether it’s with the kitchen cabinets, or doing the flooring, or the angles you take when you are designing a stair: a small curve versus a ninety degree angle. A lot of those details have to be thought of in advance. These details are considered in this project’s cabinetry. </p><p>MF: Modern design trends when compared to more historic design is really about the stripping of ornament in my opinion. &nbsp;It’s about simple and clean lines with visual bare necessity. &nbsp;Europe has definitely influenced the traditional kitchen here, and we are seeing this really proliferate among our clients who have a strong conviction for the European modern cabinetry. &nbsp;Now that is speaking purely of aesthetic, the cabinet systems that we employ from European manufacturers are also leaps and bounds more efficient and truly user friendly. &nbsp;Cabinetry has really evolved from boxes with shelves that hold stacks of plates and glasses, to a new level of humanistic design and engineering that puts items in the perfect place and with the least amount of waste in terms of space and function. &nbsp;They have been designed to a level we see in our new vehicles, or our anatomically correct office chairs.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="623" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><p><br></p><p>DDC: What was your experience working with Divine Design Center? </p><p>CK: Working with Divine is great. The team is wonderful, and they are proactive. They are receptive, and they understand what we do. They are very customer-centric. The product is shipped from overseas, which takes time. Divine understands that, and they understand how that stands out from us going and sourcing the product locally. So, a lot of times, they look at our schedule and try and accommodate that schedule. And if there are surprises, which there always are with building, sometimes you don’t have that luxury to fix things. But, I have to say, that with Divine, when there were surprises, they were able to get things shipped via air in order to meet our timelines. And in order to meet with our schedule, they were very responsive to our needs. Which is very important to us as developers and as builders. </p><p>MF: Divine Design Center has a tremendous staff of support and expertise. &nbsp;We enjoy working with them because we know that with a few drawings and a phone call, they will take the ball and return a fantastic and full service product. &nbsp;That makes our clients happy, which in turn, makes us happy, and look forward to work with them again.</p><p></p> Brookline's 29 Thorndike Street and the Newly Changing Backdrop to Urban Development Show Edit Destroy
374 <p>In recent years, Boston has experienced far-above-average job and population growth, putting increased pressure upon the Boston area’s housing stock and resulting in the historic development boom we are experiencing today.<br></p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><p>Above: the upcoming <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Hillside apartments</a> (left) and recently completed <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Brookside at 999 Hancock condominiums</a> (right) in Quincy, developed by Boston Property Ventures.</p><br><p>In recent years, Boston has experienced far-above-average job and population growth, putting increased pressure upon the Boston area’s housing stock and resulting in the historic development boom we are experiencing today. These shifts in the demand and supply of the space market have had major effects on rents and condominium prices, which have increased to levels previously unheard of. Long gone are the 1970s, when one could rent an apartment in South Boston for under $100 per month. Even 1995’s <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">citywide median rent</a> for a two-bedroom apartment, $825, is a price unheard of in today’s market. Today, two-bedroom rents in Boston average over $3,200 per month, emphasizing the increased desirability of Boston’s housing stock. Developments such as the South End’s Ink Block and South Boston’s Washington Village have sprouted in areas previously devoid of residential presence, as the City of Boston has scrambled to supply enough housing for the stream of workers moving in.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="351"></p><p>Above: A locus graphic of Ink Block, the first residential development in the South End’s New York Streets neighborhood since its’ 1950s razing.</p><br><p>In recent years, leading employers such as General Electric, Reebok and New Balance have chosen Boston to house their headquarters, seeking to leverage Boston’s cutting edge talent. Major technology and life sciences players such as PTC and Alexion Pharmaceuticals have also recently announced their decisions to move their headquarters to Boston, and nationwide corporations such as Facebook are opening large new offices here as well.</p><br><p>Boston has arguably the highest concentration of top universities in the country, including Harvard, MIT, Northeastern and BU. These institutions attract ambitious young adults, many of whom are choosing to stay in Boston as more companies plant their roots here. With the resulting wider selection of jobs, more students have reason to stay here after graduation. Between 2014 and 2015, Boston experienced a 2.7% increase in jobs per the Boston Planning &amp; Development Agency (BPDA), outperforming both Massachusetts and the nation. Over the same period, Boston increased in population by 50,000, or 8%, more than all of the previous three decades.</p><br><p>The strength of Boston’s economy has grown to levels even higher than before the Great Recession of 2008. Per the Boston Planning &amp; Development Agency (BPDA), Boston had a total of 757,344 jobs in 2015, a 10.5% increase from 2007’s pre-recession peak of 685,686. More recently, in the 12-month period ending Q3 2017, Boston Metro Area employers <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">increased total employment by 52,500 jobs</a>, or 1.9%, led by the education and health services sectors, which added 18,000 workers, and professional service related firms, which created 11,400 jobs.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="411"></p><p>Above: 121 Seaport, a soon-to-open office tower in Boston’s burgeoning Seaport District that will be home to the headquarters of PTC and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.</p><br><p>With so many more people moving into Boston, both rents and occupancy have increased significantly, leading to more cash flow in the asset market, increased property values and an overall riper appetite for development. Between 2015 and 2016, according to the American Community Survey, median gross residential rents in Boston <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=";prodType=table">increased by 4.1%</a> from $1,432 to $1,491 per month, and the City’s <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=";prodType=table">homeowner and rental vacancy rates were estimated at just 1.4% and 3.1%</a>, respectively, in 2016, lower than those of New York (2.1% and 3.6%).</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="324"></p><p>Above: Hillside, an upcoming 60-unit apartment building in Quincy being developed by Boston Property Ventures.</p><br><p>The cost to purchase housing in Boston is also increasing rapidly. Per the most recent Greater Boston Association of Realtors (GBAR) <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">report</a>, median single family home and condominium prices have increased 8.2% and 6.6%, respectively, since last fall. Median prices have reached $568,000 for single family homes and $511,525 for condos, compared to $525,000 for homes and $480,000 for condos last fall.</p><br><p>In order to meet the increasing demand for housing, the City of Boston has moved to permit the construction of thousands of new housing units. Upon assuming the post of Mayor of Boston in 2014, Mayor Marty Walsh proclaimed that by 2030, 53,000 new housing units will be constructed in our city. In the third quarter of 2016, the City issued permits for the construction of 1,565 new or converted residential units per the BPDA, representing a 44% increase relative to the third quarter of 2015, when 1,090 permits were issued. In 2016, the BPDA Board approved 7.9 million square feet of new housing, representing total of 7,868 housing units across the City. As a result of the surge in new residential development, vacancies actually rose by 0.3%, up to 3.4%, in 2017 per Marcus &amp; Millichap’s Q4 2017 <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Multifamily Market Report</a>. Yet even so, Boston’s average effective rent will climb 2.6% in 2017 to $1,975 per month.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><p>Above: Brookside at 999 Hancock, a recently-completed 53-unit condominium building in Quincy developed by Boston Property Ventures.</p><br><p>Boston’s boom has influenced smaller cities around the region, where new buildings are being built in record numbers to address low vacancies in the Greater Boston Area. In the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area alone, from November 2016 through October 2017, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">13,922 new private housing units were authorized</a> per Federal Reserve economic data, Moreover, per the Marcus &amp; Millichap multifamily report, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">8,900 units</a> were completed in the Metro Boston Area in 2017.</p><br><p>Multifamily buildings further from Boston, such as Boston Property Ventures’ recently completed Brookside at 999 Hancock condominiums in Quincy, have provided needed capacity to help accommodate the increase in demand for Boston housing. It has become clear that more such buildings will be necessary in the future. According to the City of Boston’s Imagine Boston 2030 outlook, an average of 1.3% annual job growth is expected in Boston, which will put even more pressure on Boston’s housing stock. In addition to building dense housing developments within Boston, developing housing in peripheral cities such as Cambridge, Somerville and Quincy will go a long way towards ensuring that the region has enough housing to sustain its’ impressive growth trajectory and house the people who are helping make Boston a worldwide innovative leader.</p> Greater Boston’s Impressive Job Growth Surges Multifamily Housing Permitting Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p>Remember that saying, “If you build it, they will come”? Well, 2017 tells us that now, it’s not just<i> if</i> you build it, but <i>how</i> you build it, as well.</p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p><br></p><p><i>By Madison Silvers</i><br></p><p><i>October 25th, 2017</i></p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="400"></p><br><p>Remember that saying, “If you build it, they will come”? Well, 2017 tells us that now, it’s not just <i>if</i> you build it, but <i>how</i> you build it, as well. Alas, the traditional presumptions made for large-scale developments were follow codes, meet the requirements, and then yes, they will come. “They” being the proverbial buyer, that is. However, the 21st century buyer has evolved with the tides of globalization. They come from many walks of life, and speak from a multitude of experiences and cultures. </p><br><p>The one common factor here is that all of these “new kinds” of real estate shoppers have travelled, and they have seen how functionality and design serve those worldwide. Furthermore, the internet speaks to this discovery, and affords potential buyers the accessibility in understanding what is out there and available to them. And, thus, this growing assemblage of educated and successful, potential buyers can gather what their amenities should and must be before they choose to take that consumer leap. Herein lies the solution: European wardrobe systems.</p><br><p>These new, innovative wardrobes impress the client and maximize your profit. Globally, Europeans are at the forefront of innovation within the industry. Subsequently, a European wardrobe is sleek and functional. It is wired with its' own motion-sensored, easily-connected lights. In a similar vein, these wardrobes’ design detail is unsurpassed.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="653"></p><br><p>But, the most glaring fundament of these European wardrobes is their ease in application. Labor expenses are reduced exponentially, as these wardrobe systems are simply put together and placed in their rightful home within a unit. There is no on-site construction. Similarly, there is no framing, flooring and/or trim to be milled and installed. Yet, the overall wardrobe system cultivates the luxury standards sought out by your imminent buyers. </p><br><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="423"></p><br><p>Additionally, a majority of European wardrobe systems are engineered with their own built-in lighting and electrical channels. Appearances aside, as a result, this amenity speaks to the aforementioned cost-effectiveness. For, this design solution also alleviates the costliness affixed to electrical subcontractors. Or any subcontractors, for that matter. So, long are the days of your average, regular reaching closet with double doors. These antiquated wardrobe solutions are expensive and take time to build right. The European wardrobe systems alleviate the former while increasing the profit for you, the developer.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 20927 PMpng" src="" height="189"></p><br><p>With this in mind, the modern, European wardrobes of now and of the future are molded to fit the gamut of tastes for the wide array of developments currently in planning. Subsequently, these wardrobes are European made, but furthermore offered in wood, glass, lacquered and et al types of front and interior finishes.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 20948 PMpng" src="" height="157"></p><br><p>Receive the best of both worlds with European wardrobe systems: find the highest quality and consumer satisfaction within the secret of Divine Design Center’s value-engineered wardrobe systems for multi-unit developments. For more information on <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Divine Design Center</a>&nbsp;and their work on developments in the Boston area, follow the link <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">here</a>.</p><br><p><img width="624" alt="Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 21003 PMpng" src="" height="381"></p><p></p> European wardrobe systems and the future of multi-unit developments Show Edit Destroy
374 <p><b></b>President Trump’s impending tax overhaul, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is expected to have a resounding effect upon the real estate market.<b></b><br></p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><h6>Above: The ever-changing Boston skyline as viewed from the Seaport District.</h6><br><p>President Trump’s impending tax overhaul, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is expected to have a resounding effect upon the real estate market. Trump’s plan could hold many advantages for real estate investors and developers, which may result in significant development in the coming years. James Repetti, a tax law professor at Boston College Law School, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">calls the bill</a> “a windfall for real estate developers” given that the bill favors pass-through businesses, for instance partnerships, S-corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs), that allow income to pass through directly to the owners. Pass-through businesses will see their annual tax bills drop due to a rate cut from nearly 40% to just 25% under Trump’s plan. Given that many real estate development-related entities are organized as pass-through businesses, developers will be able to benefit substantially from Trump’s plan.</p><br><p>Likewise, with Trump’s new changes, interest expenses for property development and construction management, among other activities, will be permitted for tax deduction <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">according to</a> Washington Post economists Drew Harwell and Jonathan O'Connell. While Trump’s plan aims to make like-kind exchanges for businesses outside of real estate, for instance transactions of assets such as rare automobiles, ineligible, like-kind exchanges within real estate will still be permitted. Also known as 1031 exchanges, like-kind transactions enable investors to exchange one asset for another resembling asset without paying any capital gains tax. Thus, under Trump’s plan, owners of commercial real estate will potentially <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">be able to</a> flip properties indefinitely.</p><br><p>Yet even so, some federal initiatives that have helped developers spearhead projects for years will be eliminated under Trump’s plan. The longstanding Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program, which has benefitted urban renewal developers for years, is attenuated under the bill. While the 20% credit benefit developers currently receive when a restored building opens will be retained, under Trump’s plan, the credit will be distributed over five years after the building’s opening, as opposed to immediately as is currently the procedure. Accordingly, the longer term now required to reap the credit’s benefit could make urban renewal projects, which have helped revitalize many cities, less attractive to “impatient investors who don’t want to wait to cut their corporate tax liability”, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">explains</a> Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin.</p><br><p>The longer period could make it increasingly difficult for developers to finance rehabilitation of existing, run-down buildings, which could in turn inhibit the revitalization of investment-ready neighborhoods across the United States and curtail the increased urban investment that has taken place over the past few years. However, developers may still be able to appeal to affluent communities, especially large liberal cities, whose local governments honor their own State legislation that provides funding to redeveloping historic and run-down buildings and neighborhoods. In 2016, Boston residents overwhelmingly <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">voted</a> in favor of enacting the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Community Preservation Act</a>, a state law that, starting this year, will generate $20 million in funding for historic preservation, affordable housing, and city parks. Such acts will enable continued investment in housing despite the curtailing of incentives such as the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program.</p><br><p>While investors and developers will likely be able to glean broad benefits from Trump’s plan, there will likely be a shift amongst consumers from buying to renting residential property due to reduced tax benefits. According <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">the latest research</a> by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), first-time homebuyers are not served well by the plan, and even current homeowners could be compromised depending on where they own. Per the NAR, the average first-time homebuyer makes a down payment of less than 10% on their first home, a consequential figure given the new tax plan’s unprecedented limitations on interest payment-based tax deductions.</p><br><p>Under Trump’s tax plan, potential homebuyers will not be eligible for a tax deduction for interest paid on a mortgage for a home worth more than $750,000. Previously, the cap for tax deduction eligibility was $1 million. Current homeowners will be grandfathered into the former $1 million cap; however, homeowners who have purchased properties after December 15th, 2017 are now faced with the new, lower cap, mitigating the potential wealth-inducing impact of Trump’s general tax cuts. Simultaneously, under Trump’s tax plan, a new deduction limit of a combined $10,000 will be set on property, state and local income taxes. Consequently, homeowners residing in states with high taxes, for instance New York, New Jersey and California, could end up owing significantly more this April with the loss of former deductions.</p><br><p>Gone are the days when taxpayers could fully deduct state and local property taxes plus income or sales tax. <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">According to</a> Tax Policy Center senior fellow Howard Gleckman, “[the $10,000 cap] is going to be a significant cost for many taxpayers in high-tax states”. The loss will be particularly appreciable for residents of New York County, who used to draw an average deduction of $24,900 on state and local income and property tax, and residents of Marin County, the immediate suburbs of San Francisco, who drew an average $17,000, according to <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">2014 IRS data</a> compiled by the Tax Foundation’s Alan Cole. The bill’s revision of mortgage interest deduction, combined with these deduction limits, could lead to home value declines of “as much as 10% in counties with the highest property and income taxes” for current homeowners, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">according to</a> New York Times real estate reporter Conor Dougherty.</p><br><p>With the incentivization of new homeownership under fire, a rise in renting could be on the way. David Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of S&amp;P Dow Jones Indices’ Index Committee, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">notes</a> that the new expense of owning in places with high taxes could leave “potential home buyers compelled to look at renting,” especially in expensive coastal cities. According to Blitzer, “[home] prices are rising faster than wages, salaries and inflation,” leading to renting making more financial sense than buying and leaving landlords to rake in the profits.</p><br><p>Contrary to Blitzer, Leonard Steinberg, President of luxury brokerage Compass, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">does not believe</a> in the notion that the new housing market uncertainty will “lead the consumer to become a society of renters with diminished incentives to buy”. Other realtors, however, do not share Steinberg’s optimism about consumer tendencies sustaining a reasonably balanced tilt between buying and renting. Bonnie Casper, a real estate agent with Long &amp; Foster in Bethesda, MD, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">says</a> the new rules will put a lot of prospective home buyers, particularly those buying their first home, in “wait-and-see mode”, which could prompt a slowdown in the market. “If [buyers are] not going to have a tax benefit,” explains Casper, then they are likely to “go rent and not buy”.</p><br><p>While certainly there is no shortage of divergence in what is thought about the Trump Tax Bill, its’ projected end results certainly point to well-established real estate investors and developers as principal beneficiaries. The foremost consequence to consumers is the shakedown of homeowner tax incentives and deductible mortgage debt. However, real estate businesses can take still take advantage of capital gains through 1031 exchanges. And most importantly, developers will be able to leverage the reduced tax rate of 25% for pass-through businesses, which will escalate income and slash loss on licensing fees. In this rapidly transforming political climate, it seems it is a felicitous time to invest in commercial real estate.</p> The Impact of President Trump’s Tax Plan on the Real Estate Market Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>After several years of what is possibly the biggest building boom in the city’s history, Boston remarkably seems poised to keep the momentum going with several significant projects ready to break ground <br></p> <p></p><p>After several years of what is possibly the biggest building boom in the city’s history, Boston remarkably seems poised to keep the momentum going with several significant projects ready to break ground. Here’s our list of 10 key projects for 2018:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>1. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>150 Seaport Blvd</b></p> <p>After a long journey, the controversial 22-story condo tower in Boston’s Seaport District was recently approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. Despite receiving approval from the Boston Planning &amp; Development Agency in December 2016, the tower faced a legal challenge by the Conservation Law Foundation earlier this year, which held up construction. Developer Jon Cronin agreed to pay the city of Boston $1.95 million for the 3,000 square feet of the city’s sidewalks outside Whiskey Priest and Atlantic Beer Garden in order to create enough space for the luxury condo tower. The project now faces another challenge from CLF, which has a pending lawsuit challenging a zoning plan for the site. However, the case is expected to be heard and resolved early in the year, and The Cronin Group should begin construction in October 2018.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>The Huntington</b></p> <p>Acquired by QMG Huntington LLC in May 2016, this 0.76-acre site in Fenway is currently occupied by three existing buildings at 252, 258 and 264 (the theater) Huntington Avenue. The proposal for the site includes demolishing the 252 and 258 Huntington Ave buildings and, in their places, building a 32-story, 405,500 square foot mixed-use tower with more than 400 apartment residences as well as 7,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space spanning the first and second floors. The new building will be connected to the existing theater on it first two floors, and will expand the theater by 14,000 square feet. In early December, the BPDA approved the plan for the 32-story building which puts it on track to begin construction in 2018.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>3. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>Suffolk Downs</b></p> <p>As the focus of Boston’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, Suffolk Downs’ future is one of 2018’s most intriguing possibilities. Earlier this year, the 161-acre site was sold to The HYM Investment group, which has big plans for the location – with or without Amazon. With the race track being eliminated in April 2018, HYM will begin to implement phase one of their plans for a mixed-use development, which will be transit-oriented and include 40 acres of open space, spanning more than one million square feet of the eight million square foot space.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>4. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>Winthrop Square Garage</b></p> <p>From navigating shadow laws to chopping its height as a condition to move forward, developer Millennium Partners has come a long way getting Winthrop Square Garage’s necessary approvals. And after a height of 725 feet was ultimately agreed upon, the tower was approved, but not without an add-on ban on any future developments from reaching heights that would cast shadows on Boston Common, the Boston Public Garden and Copley Square. Recently, Millennium Partners has started demolition on the vacant parking garage in the heart of the financial district to prepare the site for construction. If all goes as planned, the developer and the Boston Planning &amp; Development Agency should break ground on the office and condominium tower in 2018.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>5. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>Mass + Main</b></p> <p>This project – named for the intersection in which it lays at Mass Ave and Main Street in Cambridge’s Central Square – has already begun construction, but most of the work will be done this year, as it targets 2019 for completion. The 308,000 square foot, mixed-use development includes three buildings: a 19-story high-rise tower, which will be the first phase of the project and will be among the tallest buildings in Cambridge when complete; a six-story innovation housing building; and a four-story family housing building. Together, they will contain more than 300 apartment residences and 17,000 square feet of retail, marking a new chapter in the neighborhood’s look and development.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>6. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>Widett Circle</b></p> <p>Put up for sale in early November 2017, the 20 acres at Widett Circle is a prime spot for development between the South End and South Boston. As a parcel of land previously overlooked, it finally surfaced as a sought-after development site for Boston’s 2024 Olympic bid. And after the bid fell through, the desire to develop the property has only grown since. Many developers are interested in the site, which has great access to transit and the expressway. The owner, The New Boston Food Market, hopes to have a buyer for the property by early 2018, which will spur major development moves at a site the mayor and others consider vital to expanding development south of downtown.</p> <p><b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>7. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>The Hub on Causeway</b></p> <p>On the site of the old Boston Garden, this 1.87 million square foot, three-tower mixed-use development in Bulfinch Triangle will complete its first phase in late 2018. Phase one will include office, retail, restaurant and new parking space, as well as 64,000 square feet of TD Garden expansion space. Phase two of the massive development will entail a 38-story residential tower with approximately 440 units and a 10-story citizen hotel. And Phase three will be comprised of a 21-story office tower. Once complete, the steel and glass structures will connect directly to North Station, transforming Boston’s West End.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>8. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>Echelon Seaport</b></p> <p>One of the largest construction projects in Massachusetts, Echelon Seaport officially broke ground in June 2017 but, like others, will really begin significant building in 2018 and on into 2019. It will consist of three mixed-use towers containing 1.3 million square feet across 3.5 acres at B Street and Seaport Boulevard in the Seaport. Two of the towers will consist of more than 400 luxury condos, and the final tower will contain 285 luxury apartments. The development will include a 19,000 square foot plaza as well as 125,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Coming in at a whopping $900 million, Echelon will be the second largest housing development in the neighborhood and will open in 2020.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>9. &nbsp; &nbsp; </b><b>399 Congress Street</b></p> <p>After years of discussion over the Congress Street parcel, one of the last large sites in the Seaport, Miami-based developer Crescent Heights secured a construction permit with the city and began foundation work in July 2017. This mixed-use development will be 22-stories tall and contain more than 400 apartments, in addition to 12,000 square feet of retail, innovation and lobby space across the ground floor. Underneath the tower will be a three-level parking garage. And keeping on track with Mayor Walsh’s affordable housing goals, more than 60 units will be designated as affordable, including 13 of the innovation units. Once complete, the complex will offer its residents direct access to the Seaport’s Innovation District companies, many of which are housed in nearby buildings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>10. <b>One Dalton &amp; the Four Seasons &nbsp;</b></p> <p>These two major projects have been topics of conversation for some time, but both will finally come to fruition in 2018. Set for completion by New Year’s Eve 2018, One Dalton, soon-to-be home of the city’s second Four Seasons, will contain residential, hotel and retail space, along with other amenities. Upon completion, the 61-story building will surpass Millennium Tower to become Boston’s tallest residential tower. </p> <br><p></p> 10 Boston Development Moves to Watch in 2018 Show Edit Destroy
166 <p>Boston’s architectural landscape offers the unique opportunity to retrofit historic industrial buildings into office space that is well-suited to meet the needs of today’s workforce.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Boston’s architectural landscape offers the unique opportunity to retrofit historic industrial buildings into office space that is well-suited to meet the needs of today’s workforce. Modern companies are seeking to improve the ‘work and life balance’ dovetail by creating more flexible work environments, a goal for which formerly industrial buildings, with their open floor plans and abundant natural lighting, are well-suited. New function drives new form in office space fit-out, and as real estate prices for ‘flashy downtown addresses’ increase, companies look for creative alternatives, providing an exciting opportunity for underutilized industrial properties. Formerly industrial buildings have given way to some of Boston’s most exciting offices in recent years, from rapidly growing startups to major players such as Amazon and General Electric, both of whom occupy retrofitted industrial space in Fort Point.</p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="333"></p> <h6>Above: A rendering of formerly industrial space in Fort Point that General Electric is currently fitting out as part of its’ new headquarters campus.</h6> <p>Boston’s historic industrial building stock offers many benefits to companies looking to maximize the value of their office space. Buildings formerly used for industrial tasks, such as storage and manufacturing, typically have larger structural spans, allowing for more open space, a trend in today’s more collaborative work environments. Gone are the days of tiny, chopped-up offices and blocks of cubes. With a blank, open slate, spaces can be subdivided and customized to suit a company’s needs.</p> <p>Historic buildings may contain noteworthy architectural details unique to the space, such as patina copper, steel beams and columns, antique equipment, exposed brick and large window openings. Working with these buildings’ existing architectural elements adds a unique vibe to spaces, increasing employee morale by providing a workspace that is interesting and inviting.</p> <p>Open, high-ceilinged, naturally-lit floor plans that encourage collaboration and are laden with details are known to drive productivity, making formerly industrial buildings all the more attractive. “The result [of open and engaging space] is a workplace employees want to go to on a daily basis”, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">explains</a> Ideapaint Vice President Jeff Chaitman. “The common thread throughout is a boost in innovation and creative thinking, employee retention and overall engagement”. Open and engaging office design encourages employees to move around and interact with one another, stimulating physical and mental health and improving cooperation.</p> <p>Open offices can also help improve interactions between managers and employees by making the manager more accessible and empowering employees to come to work and perform at their best daily. “The access employees [in open offices] have to managers, specifically the variety of access they have to them, creates unique relationships between new hires and veterans that forge a strong professional bond and creates a sense of empowerment that keeps them engaged day after day,” explains Chaitman.</p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p> <h6>Above: Flexible workspace at LogMeIn’s recently opened office in Fort Point, carved out of a historic factory building. (Photo courtesy <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Officelovin’</a>)</h6> <p>With real estate prices in the Downtown Boston market soaring, immense value can be found in retrofitted space. Old industrial factory buildings are typically located in areas previously thought of as the ‘outskirts’ of town. Really, many are conveniently located near the city center via multiple transportation options. In many cases, for instance Boston’s Fort Point and Leather District neighborhoods, these areas are located a short walk away from the city center in areas that have been essentially absorbed into downtown as prices have increased. Accordingly, the cost per square foot of leasing space in industrial buildings may be more palatable for companies seeking to minimize overhead. In Boston’s Seaport District, which includes the Fort Point neighborhood, rent in older “brick-and-beam” factory buildings is substantially cheaper, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">averaging about $50 per square foot</a> in comparison to nearly $70 for newer “Class A” construction.</p> <p>There are endless options when it comes to retrofitting a formerly industrial space. In today’s spirit of collaborative workspaces, cookie cutter offices with less open space are behind the times and seemingly limit creativity and team-based atmosphere. Instead, companies are now trending towards more adaptable solutions that speak to their specific brand. For instance, companies are fitting their spaces out with prefabricated walls, which can be quickly and easily installed and re-configured on-demand to create offices, conference rooms and break out rooms for small meetings. As your company evolves, using a prefabricated product can limit disruption of productivity, as well as unsightly construction mess. Likewise, in the shorter term, walls that are easily moved can allow for simple creation of spaces that will maximize productivity in appropriate situations, for instance different sized workstations, phone booths, break out rooms and entertainment spaces.</p> <p>Today’s changing work cultures are having a transformative impact upon the way offices are designed, and the office products coming to market. At <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">21 Batchelder</a>, a former air conditioning warehouse located in Boston’s up-and-coming Newmarket Square that is being transformed by Haycon into creative office space now available for lease, spaces will be fit out with collaborative areas and moveable, less static walls. The fully renovated warehouse will feature original steel trusses, exposed brick and steel cased windows, adding to the space’s authentic industrial vibe.</p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="939"></p> <h6>Authentic steel trusses at 21 Batchelder.</h6> <p>21 Batchelder will be designed for optimal use of space, incorporating modern productivity-enhancing technology such as media walls and writable surfaces and trading traditional conference rooms for collaborative amenities such as break out rooms. The property will include both a co-working area featuring desks and private offices, and build-to-suit duplex 1,800-square-foot office suites.</p> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p><h6>Exterior view of 21 Batchelder.</h6> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="415"></p> <h6>High-ceilinged entry at 21 Batchelder.</h6> <p>In the coming years, companies will continue to turn to customizable “brick-and-beam” properties like 21 Batchelder to craft office spaces tailored to their specific needs and wants and optimally suited to take the company to the next level. As office spaces across Boston change hands, new tenants are consistently gutting old fitouts to reveal coveted details such as steel trusses, exposed beams, air ducts and wood flooring, and regain industrial buildings’ original character. Seeking to boost employee morale and productivity, a large majority of companies are including flexible workspaces and employee lounges in fitouts.</p><p>As a result, demand for formerly industrial office spaces has skyrocketed, with Class B rents often rivaling those on lower floors of Class A towers. In response to the increased demand for formerly industrial office space, Duncan Gratton, Executive Managing Director at Cushman &amp; Wakefield, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">directly attributes</a> “the predilection for funky space to companies wanting to attract younger, hipper millennials into the workforce”, noting that “warehouse styled office spaces are more appealing to [the millennial] generation”. Spaces like 21 Batchelder that feature authentic details and flexible workspace will be key towards attracting millennials looking for cool, hip places to work, and creating positive, collaborative company culture that will fuel the next generation of innovation in Boston and other cities.</p> <iframe frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="1" width="700" height="400" src=""></iframe> Retrofit: Maximizing Boston’s Unique Industrial Architecture for Modern Office Culture Show Edit Destroy
1531 <p>While many choose to ring in the New Year with champagne and grand resolutions geared towards self-improvement, we find solace in something a bit more practical (at least in the development world).<br></p> <p><b></b></p><p></p><p>While many choose to ring in the New Year with champagne and grand resolutions geared towards self-improvement, we find solace in something a bit more practical (at least in the development world). As technology continues to progress faster than we can say the words “luxury condominiums”, we also recognize that a gambit of extraneous add-ons and doo-dads cloud the air of necessity when considering appliances. So, in 2018, we resolved to filter through the barrage of innovations hitting the market: an appliance debunking of sorts. And, in this, we found six appliance trends that are not just here to stay, but essential to the improvement of your development’s individual unit’s value down the line:</p><p>1. Induction Cooking –</p><p>Okay, so we get it. People are traumatized by the electric cooktops of yesterday’s past. However, the science behind induction cooking supersedes anything that came before it. And by anything, we mean, induction cooking even triumphs over your good ol’ gas range (gasp!). We promise. So, now we’re sure you’re wondering…HOW IS THIS SO? Brace yourself, for nothing will ever again be the same after the reveal.</p><p>Induction surfaces are activated through electromagnetic fields found below the glass surface of the flush cooktop. Consequently, the magnets sense the bottom of a cooking vessel and therefore eddy currents produce Joule heating via the vessel and directly to what the vessel’s contents might contain. Thus, we find an unmatched efficiency in an induction cooktop. Liquid boils and food cooks quicker and more controlled than ever before. </p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p>2. Smaller Ventilation Hoods –</p><p>If we refer back to the science of induction, we find that the cooktop’s efficiency not only offers optimal cooking methods, but, also in this effect, reduces the amount of heat, steam and smell compared to its gas and electric counterparts. Thus, ventilation hoods no longer need extraordinary CFM to effectively clean the air. Similarly, smaller range hoods find root in this subsequent (minimal) off put. </p><p><img width="413" alt="" src="" height="619"></p><p>3. Combination Steam Ovens –</p><p>Microwaves are kind of the worst. They make your food soggy and overcook your leftovers. And, they might kill you one day. Okay, okay: call us melodramatic; but, really, no one likes to admit to using a microwave, and they certainly don’t love having it on display in their otherwise gleaming new kitchen. </p><p>Enter the combination steam oven. A combi-steam oven can and easily replaces the likes of a microwave. We now know that, for the fully-automatic cleaning programs + fresh steam systems re-heats and re-freshens food to its original glory. Furthermore, combination cooking allows one to cook food faster than even convection, but also enunciates the desired notion of crispy or browned on the outside, while remaining warm and moist in the center. Yum. The marriage of steam cooking with oven/convection functions has never been so sweet. You can even sous-vide! </p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p>4. Fully-Integrated Refrigerators –</p><p>Modular, fully-integrated refrigeration systems are on the rise. And, definitely here to say. Refrigerator “columns” offer minimal bulk to any style of kitchen, but furthermore provide maximal + optimal storage space for one’s fridge and freeze needs. </p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p><img width="623" alt="" src="" height="851"></p><p>5. Wall Ovens – </p><p>Wall ovens are integral in a development’s unit’s kitchen design; primarily, for their ability to save huge amounts of space during planning. Luxury condominium buildings, like most buildings in a city, must find ways to create functional space within limited square footage. Furthermore, the kitchen often acts as a micro example to this adage. The primary way to add storage in the kitchen (the one thing they always need more of), while still saving space comes, thankfully, via the wall oven. </p><p><img width="416" alt="" src="" height="537"></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p>6. Handle-less Designed Dishwashers –</p><p>Handle-less kitchen design is on the rise. Similarly, this “trend” becomes increasingly more important of an amenity within a multi-unit development’s planning. Consequently, appliance manufacturers find ways to stay relevant within the kitchen industry’s constant improvement. Options such as knock-knock and push systems curate seamless, functional design within a unit’s kitchen block.</p> <iframe frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="1" width="640" height="360" src=""></iframe> <p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p>For more information on <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Divine Design Center</a>&nbsp;and their work on developments in the Boston area, follow the link <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">here</a>.</p><p>~Madison Silvers</p><p></p> 2018 Kitchen Appliance Trends for Luxury Developments Show Edit Destroy
548 <p>Over the past decade, there has been a national focus on advancing ‘best’ practices in the reuse and recycling of surplus soils generated from large urban developments and excavations.</p> <i>January 4th, 2018</i> <br> <p><br></p><p>Over the past decade, there has been a national focus on advancing ‘best’ practices in the reuse and recycling of surplus soils generated from large urban developments and excavations. Traditional practices for managing these soils included trucking and costly disposal at in-state or out-of-state landfills, consuming ‘valuable’ airspace needed for trash and solid waste. This method had negative impacts on the environment and the economy.</p><p><br></p><p>On June 30th, 2015, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) implemented <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">COMM-15-01</a>, an interim policy on soil reclamation. This policy mandates specific ‘regulations, guidelines, standards or procedures’ to determine soil suitability to be used as fill material for reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits, as well as other land expansion needs. Under these guidelines, MassDEP grants an <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Administrative Consent Order</a> (ACO) for sites and companies that meet the interim policy’s site-specific review and approval process.</p><p><br></p><p>The 2015 soil reclamation policy has helped to expand opportunities for soil reuse, with nine active facilities with MassDEP approval in the form of an ACO. These nine active facilities accept excess soils that meet the policy’s stringent guidelines. Filling these sites with acceptable soils allows for their future revitalization and development, including recreational parks, solar or wind farms, mixed-use developments or other productive community assets and resources.</p><p><br></p><p>W. L. French Excavating Corporation was the first Soil Management firm in the State to receive an ACO from MassDEP for the St. Mary Expansion Project in Tewksbury, MA. St. Mary accepted over 800,000 tons of reclaimed soil from large Boston site excavations to expand, fill and level existing acreage at the cemetery for increased burial plots.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="619" alt="" src="" height="243"> </p><h6>Massachusetts’ first ACO Permitted Soil Reuse Facility, W. L. French’s St. Mary Cemetery Expansion Project in Tewksbury, MA. </h6><p><br></p><p>W. L. French currently manages and operates two of Massachusetts’ nine permitted (in the form of an ACO) soil reuse facilities. W. L. French’s second facility, the Dudley Soil Reclamation Project, is located in Dudley, MA. One of the largest facilities in the State, this quarry has four million tons of airspace capacity that W. L. French will fill with urban soils from Massachusetts over the next 5-10 years. Future redevelopment plans for the site include a large solar farm.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="617" alt="" src="" height="374"></p><h6>The Dudley Soil Reclamation Project in Dudley, MA, W. L. French’s second ACO-permitted soil reuse facility. The Dudley Soil Reclamation Project is spearheaded by W. L. French in partnership with Rampco Construction.</h6><p><br></p><p>Historically, Boston has achieved success reusing acceptable excess soils generated from Boston’s Big Dig to refill the 22-acre Quincy, MA Quarry. Tons of surplus soils from the new highway tunnels were trucked to Quincy to fill in the main quarries.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="617" alt="37148jpg" src="" height="462"></p><h6>The Quincy Quarry was once littered with trash, and also resulted in injuries and fatalities from ‘cliff jumping’ into the Quarry water.</h6><p><br></p><p>Filling Quincy Quarry with the Big Dig soils created a large recreational area for rock climbers that connects with the Blue Hills Reservation trails. This site is now a widely used community park and valuable resource for the City.</p><p><br></p><p>Massachusetts recognizes that with a ‘comprehensive approach’ to soil management, soil reuse facilities can increase in-state options for adaptive reuse of excess excavated soil. Soil reuse facilities are helping revitalize unused property, generate income for property owners and communities and lower construction costs for developers. Overall, these facilities are allowing our State to advance ‘best practices’ by reusing and recycling soils.</p><p><br></p><p><img width="622" alt="CUsersLkelleyPicturesKara PPSPPSWLFrench - 72jpg" src="" height="282"></p> Massachusetts Advances Best Practices in Soil Reuse and Reclamation Show Edit Destroy
1515 <p><b></b>The latest construction boom has resulted in the creation of multiple new technologies that have brought a new level of convenience to urban living.<b></b><br></p> <p>The latest construction boom has resulted in the creation of multiple new technologies that have brought a new level of convenience to urban living. From robotic furniture, to communal spaces and programming, to internet that is faster than ever before, technology has made urban living more attractive and created a number of new buildings that cater to a unique new live, work and play lifestyle without ever having to leave home. Below is a selection of Boston-area new-construction residential buildings that have made significant investments in technology and resident experience:</p><p></p><p></p><p><br></p><p></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Chroma</a></p><p>Cambridge - Cambridgeport</p><p>Located in the heart of Cambridgeport steps from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Kendall Square, Chroma features 96 luxurious apartment residences with an array of on-site amenities, including a state-of-the-art gym, an exclusive Club Chroma lounge, a Think Space coworking area and a communal roof deck with spectacular views of Boston and Cambridge. One of Chroma's most advanced amenities is <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=";utm_source=bldup&amp;utm_campaign=press-starry-marvell&amp;utm_content=bnr-300x250">Starry Internet</a>, an innovative high-speed wireless internet service that gives residents 200 Mbps service and a touch-screen WiFi router to monitor speeds, control connected devices and more. With a walkable location convenient to the MBTA Red Line and Kendall Square, Chroma is perfectly suited to accommodate the modern lifestyle worker.</p><p><b><br></b></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="417"></p> <h6>Above: Chroma’s Club Lounge.</h6> <h6>Below: <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=";utm_source=bldup&amp;utm_campaign=press-starry-marvell&amp;utm_content=bnr-300x250">Starry Internet’s</a> state-of-the-art home WiFi hub. With a touchscreen that lets users see their speeds, access settings and more, it’s one of the many advanced technologies being used to improve residents’ in-home experience.</h6> <p> <img width="624" alt="" src="" height="355"></p><p><b><br></b></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Watermark Seaport</a></p><p>Boston - Seaport District</p><p>Watermark Seaport is at the forefront of entrepreneurial living, featuring 346 luxury apartment residences including 44 innovation units with exclusive access to a productivity-oriented innovation lab. The building is LEED Gold sustainability-certified, and also features a Sky Deck and a second-floor terrace with grills and an outdoor fire pit.</p><p>Watermark Seaport is the first Boston-area building to feature Ori Systems robotic furniture, which unfolds and transforms a room from one living space into another, maximizing the potential of tight, dense urban space and making smaller apartments feel substantially larger. With a name derived from origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into often-multifunctional figures, Ori Systems’ furniture can allow a resident to use a compact apartment as workspace by day, and sleeping quarters by night.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="423"></p><h6>Above: Common space at Watermark Seaport.</h6> <h6>Below: Ori Systems robotic furniture.<br></h6><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="416"></p><p><b><br></b></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Proto</a></p><p>Cambridge - Kendall Square</p><p>Set to open this Summer, the 22-story, 280-unit Proto apartment tower, one of Cambridge’s tallest buildings, is located in the heart of Kendall Square, one of the United States’ hottest neighborhoods for science and technology innovation home to multiple leading companies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Proto will feature multiple high-tech amenities, including Butterfly cloud-based intercom systems, Ori Systems robotic furniture and Luxor automated package management. The tower will also include spaces such as a rooftop terrace, workspace and a video gaming area. Proto will be located steps from the MBTA Red Line and multiple shops, restaurants and centers of employment.</p><p><b><br></b></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="312"></p><h6>Above: Common space at Proto.</h6><p><b><br></b></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">7INK by Ollie</a></p><p>Boston - South End</p><p>7INK by Ollie will be Boston’s first major co-living development. Standing 14 stories tall with 245 shared suites and micro-studios, 7INK by Ollie will emphasize communal living, with multiple shared amenity spaces, connected workspaces and unique community engagements. Residences will be equipped with transformable furniture similar to Ori Systems’ product, and receive complimentary weekly cleaning. 7INK by Ollie residents will be located in the heart of the Ink Block neighborhood, steps from conveniences including a Whole Foods supermarket, fitness studios, retail stores and a variety of bars and restaurants.</p><p><b><br></b></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="351"></p><h6>Above: Amenity space at 7INK by Ollie.</h6><p><b><br></b></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">The Beverly</a></p><p>Boston - Bulfinch Triangle</p><p>Located steps from North Station in booming Bulfinch Triangle, The Beverly is a newly opened 14-story apartment building featuring 239 affordable and workforce apartment residences, the first such housing option in the Downtown Boston area in over a quarter century. The Beverly uniquely offers top-quality, new-construction finishes and conveniences at an affordable price, with amenities including 24-hour concierge service, two lounges, a top-floor roof deck with views out to the Boston Harbor islands, a fitness center, a children’s playroom and a dog spa. The Beverly is going a long way towards allowing young, developing professionals and entrepreneurs to live in Boston affordably, offering high-speed <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=";amp;utm_source=bldup&amp;amp;utm_campaign=press-starry-marvell&amp;amp;utm_content=bnr-300x250">Starry Internet</a> connectivity throughout. In addition to residences, The Beverly also houses a 220-room Courtyard Marriott hotel and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.</p><p><b><br></b></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="369"></p><h6>Above: The Beverly’s top-floor lounge and roof deck.</h6><p><b><br></b></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">The Benjamin &amp; VIA</a></p><p>Boston - Seaport District</p><p>The City of Boston’s largest mixed-use development in over 30 years, The Benjamin &amp; VIA features two distinct luxury apartment buildings with 832 combined residences, along with 250,000 square feet of exclusive retail across both buildings’ first three levels. The Benjamin &amp; VIA are both LEED Silver sustainability certified, and offer the latest technological amenities including Hello Alfred personal concierge service, Butterfly cloud-based video intercom and fitness amenities with virtual programming. Both buildings feature common, connected workspace and outdoor terraces; The Benjamin even features an outdoor pool deck overlooking Fort Point Channel. At residents’ doorsteps are an array of dining, entertainment and retail options, including the Scorpion Bar and Grand nightclubs, ICON movie theatre, Seaport Barbers, Kings Bowl and multiple shops, restaurants and coffee shops.</p><p><b><br></b></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="323"></p><h6>Above: Common workspace at VIA.</h6><p><b><br></b></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Nova Residences</a></p><p>Boston - Brighton</p><p>Located on scenic Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton between Boston College and Boston University, Nova Residences features 85 new-construction luxury apartment residences, with sweeping views of the Boston skyline and lifestyle amenities such as manicured outdoor spaces, a fitness center and indoor common rooms. High-speed <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=";amp;utm_source=bldup&amp;amp;utm_campaign=press-starry-marvell&amp;amp;utm_content=bnr-300x250">Starry Internet</a> is available throughout Nova Residences, allowing for easy, fast connectivity and a live, work and play experience.</p><p><b><br></b></p><p><img width="624" alt="" src="" height="351"></p><h6>Above: Common space at Nova Residences.</h6> Top Boston Buildings Investing in Technology and Resident Experience Show Edit Destroy

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