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36 apartments open at former Brigham site

Monthly prices range from $2,060 to $2,930

You knew the site as the place across from Shattuck's Hardware where the Brigham Ice Cream headquarters and factory used to be.

Now it's known as Alta Brigham Square.

The first 36 apartments of the complex at 30-50 Mill St. have opened, and the remaining 80 units are scheduled to be available in January.

The retail space near Mill Street and the bikeway has not yet been leased.

Vanessa Showalter, representing the developer, wrote Nov. 27: "We are open to a wide variety of uses, though we would prefer a community-oriented restaurant or retail use."

 Studios range from $2,060 to $2,130 a month, Showalter wrote Monday, Nov. 26. Other monthly ranges: one-bedrooms, $2,211 to $2,867 and two-bedroom units, $2,675 to $2,930.

The news release from a firm representing the company that is developing the site, Wood Partners of Georgia, describes the neighborhood as a destination for walkers and bicyclists. Units lease at $2.85 per square foot.

Pursuant to Arlington bylaws, 15 percent of the units are reserved for families earning 60 percent or less of the area median income.

"Transforming a blighted area into a beautiful amenity in this part of town has been exciting," said Rick Dickason, Wood Partner’s regional director of development for New England, in a news release. "It’s gratifying to provide a luxury rental option not otherwise available in Arlington Center."

Mirak, developer of The Legacy, might question that claim.
The development consists of 18 studios (598 square feet); 35 one-bedroom units (719-915 square feet) and 63 two-bedroom units ((1,013 to 1,178 square feet).

Kitchens feature durable wood-look flooring, espresso wood cabinets and granite counters; bedrooms come with roomy walk-in closets; and baths feature oversized garden tubs with tile surrounds, wood-look flooring, espresso wood cabinets and cultured marble vanities.

Common areas include an expansive fitness center with a large area for active gaming; clubhouse with a media room, pool table lounge and café-style seating and a coffee bar; an exclusive outdoor area with built-in grills, seating and a fire pit; and a roof deck with views to the Minuteman Bikeway, Alta Brigham Square retail plaza, and long-range views of the Boston skyline.

The release called unit "eco-friendly," saying they exceed baseline energy-efficiency standards by 20 percent.

The 135,000-square-foot project incorporates approximately 3,500 square feet of ground-level retail space, reserved for small retail or medical offices. In addition to 84 surface parking spaces, 89 garage-level spaces will be available.

Wood Partners, which calls itrself the largest multifamily housing developer in the nation, bought the four-acre site for $5.6 million from Cambridge Savings Bank, which foreclosed on the property in August 2008, shortly after the ice cream factory stopped production when the Brigham’s name and recipes were sold to a competitor. The obsolete 85,000-square-foot office and warehouse facility was demolished in the fall of 2011.

Dickason said the site’s potential was obvious "because it is located in a well-established infill location in a very stable market with extremely high barriers to entry. It is nearly impossible to find available land of sufficient size to justify apartment development within walking distance to neighborhood amenities like Arlington Center," he said in the release.

Brigham Square is the third acquisition by Wood Partners in the Boston area over the past 22 months, with its other projects in Stoughton and Melrose.

The community is adjacent to the popular Minuteman Bikeway, a former rail line converted to a pathway that area residents use for both recreation and commuting. It is one of the most heavily used rail trails in the country, with about two million trips per year. The town of Arlington plows its section of the bikeway for year-round use.

Alta Brigham Square's retail plaza area is designed to interface with the bikeway, enabling bicyclists and walkers to pull off and enjoy seating and landscaping.

"It’s an open, attractive common area that we are certain will be well-received by bikeway users," said Dickason.

Low vacancy rates, a diversified economy, and steady job growth fueled by nearby Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- along with numerous biotech and high-tech companies linked to these institutions -- ensure robust demand for the apartments that Wood Partners expects to remain steady through virtually any market cycle, Dickason said.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group, including Simon Butler, Biria St. John, Michael Byrne and John McLaughlin, exclusively represented the seller, CSB Transaction LLC and procured the buyer W.P. East Acquisitions, LLC, an affiliate of Wood Partners of Atlanta.

The architect is Cube 3 Studio of Lawrence, and Callahan is the general contractor. Financing is provided by Cambridge Savings Bank.


Boston.com has its own story >>


This story was first published Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, and updated Nov. 26 and 27.

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