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Assembly Square adds hipster housing to its repertoire

Where the T goes, people go. The newly opened Assembly Station in east Somerville capped a 30-year redevelopment effort that lifted the area out of post-industrial blight.

AVA at Assembly Square. Credit: Allan Dines AVA at Assembly Square.
Credit: Allan Dines

Three new rental developments in east Somerville are reshaping the neighborhood, adding almost 500 newly built apartments to the area.

Where the T goes, people go. The newly opened Assembly Station in east Somerville capped a 30-year redevelopment effort that lifted the area out of post-industrial blight. Assembly Square, named for the Ford Motor assembly plant that operated there from 1926 to 1958, now includes Assembly Row, which extends the big-box oriented Assembly Square Mall east towards the Mystic River with upscale shops (Saks, Clarks), restaurants, a movie theater and two quite different residential buildings: the luxury Avalon at Assembly Row and AVA, which is geared towards younger renters.

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"The Assembly Row project provided us with a unique opportunity to offer both the flagship Avalon living experience as well as the first ground-up AVA community for youthful-minded residents,” says Scott Dale, Senior Vice President of Development for developers AvalonBay. “Avalon offers everything residents expect from luxury urban living and includes a waterfront park. AVA offers a new take on apartment living, with four courtyards, two clubrooms, and a workshop where residents can wash their dog, repair a bike, or work on hobbies with friends. All of this is just minutes from downtown Boston and at competitive prices," he adds.

On the other side of the ungainly McGrath Highway, which splits east Somerville like the old Expressway once dissected Boston, is 625 McGrath, a low-rise townhouse style apartment complex. After leasing began this summer, within six weeks 60% of the units were snapped up.

“People renting at 625 McGrath are young professionals who work in nearby Boston and Cambridge and who like the easy access to public transportation and major highways, so it takes them less time to get to and from work,” surmises Joseph Laurano, Director of Operations at developers Berkeley Investments, Inc. “Parking is a big draw for us. Our renters are happy with the onsite parking that we offer.”

Parking aside, Sullivan Square T is around a ten-minute walk away.

“We're also renting to folks who want a larger space than Boston apartment buildings offer,” adds Laurano. “Also, our renters like the quieter more residential setting while still being close to the city.”

By the numbers
625 McGrath: 34 studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments ranging from $1,775 to $3,600. Leasing office: 617-340-7305. 625 McGrath Highway, Somerville. www.625mcgrath.com/

AVA Somerville: 250 studio, one, and two-bedroom apartments, ranging from $1940 to $2655. Leasing office: 866-897-0059. 445 Artisan Way, Somerville. www.AVASomerville.com

Avalon at Assembly Row: 195 studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments ranging from around $1985 to $4500. Leasing office: 866-587-7371. 333 Great River Road, Somerville. www.AvalonAR.com

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