Team Utile has wrapped up another exciting softball season with the Boston Area Architects’ Softball League! Facing off against nine other teams from June through August at Moakley Park in South Boston, Utilians (and loyal canine mascots!) ended the summer with a satisfying 5-4 record. A special thanks to our friends at Island Exterior Fabricators for contributing to a fun season.
The 2016 softball season comes to a close
Construction begins at Union Point Town Center
Construction is underway at the mixed-use Town Center Apartments, part of developer LSTAR’s new 1,500-acre Union Point residential and commercial community on the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station site. Designed by Utile for John M. Corcoran and Company, the new development includes two five-story residential buildings that will house 265 rental units and 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. A third building with 13 townhouses abuts a proposed linear park. Working with general contractor Plumb House, Union Point Town Center is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2017.
MetroMark Apartments: A Boston Herald “Hot Property”
Paul Restuccia of the Boston Herald visited the recently-opened first phase of MetroMark Apartments in Jamaica Plain, a mixed-use development by The Brennan Group and John M. Corcoran Company, designed by Utile.
In Hot Property: New JP units sited for success, Restuccia covers in detail the initial 85-apartment building, including a description of unit types and amenities, with photos of the model unit and communal spaces. Property Manager Kelli Ahearn-Lucas says part of the appeal to renters is the development’s location; “We’re in the city, but not in the city, with the Arboretum and Jamaica Pond so close by.”
The second phase of MetroMark includes 198 units over ground-floor retail space. This “Building B” is under construction with an anticipated January 2017 completion.
Governor signs municipal modernization bill with parking reforms co-authored by Utile’s Jessica Robertson
In early August, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a comprehensive municipal modernization bill, with the intention of updating obsolete practices and giving cities and towns more flexibility and authority.
Utile’s Jessica Robertson, a senior planner, was instrumental in writing a section of the new law that modernizes parking management. She says, “Public parking is a major flashpoint in many downtowns and town centers throughout the Commonwealth, but in many cases a perceived parking crunch can actually be solved with better parking management, as opposed to building more parking, which can be detrimental to urban design and walkability. Now that this bill has become law, municipalities finally have all the tools at their disposal to actively manage their parking supply.”
Municipalities are now able to set parking prices based on demand, and allocate parking revenue to streetscape improvements and multimodal transportation projects. Most importantly, the law enables municipalities to form parking benefit districts, wherein an organization such as a business improvement district helps decide how to spend the parking revenue raised in their district. This arrangement is crucial to creating the political will for pricing parking appropriately; residents, businesses and customers are much more willing to pay for parking if they can see that they’re helping to fund new sidewalks or streetlights.
You can read more about the entire municipal modernization bill here.
A history of One Beach in Revere, MA
The Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) covered the recent opening of One Beach in its article, Historic site now home for Revere seniors. Designed by Utile, the 39-unit senior living building was developed through a partnership between The Neighborhood Developers, MHP, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The article gives a detailed history of the formerly abandoned property into what is now an integral part of an ongoing revitalization effort in the City of Revere.
New photography for Belmont Day School’s Coolidge Hall
Photographer Gustav Hoiland recently shot the renovated Coolidge Hall at Belmont Day School. Utile’s renovation of the centrally-located dining hall and multi-purpose space included the removal of an elevated stage to allow for more dining space, large new windows, and an interior sliding barn door.
Utile leads plan of New Haven’s historic Wooster Square
Utile, along with transportation consultant Nelson\Nygaard, recently kicked off a new transit-oriented development planning study for the Wooster Square neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut. The study aims to guide the City in planning for an anticipated future development of approximately 1,500 new housing units, and will make recommendations for the redesign of streets for better connectivity, ways to best promote walking and cycling, and redevelopment options for underutilized properties. A well-attended working session in mid-July encouraged community and steering committee members to pitch ideas for area improvements and upgrades. Aliyya Swaby of the New Haven Independent covered the first community meeting in her article, Neighbors Envision Wooster Square 2.0. Swaby noted the wide-range of suggestions from attendees, including a cobblestone-lined pedestrian walkway, and diversifying commercial businesses in the neighborhood’s predominantly-Italian Wooster Street.
Wooster Square was transformed by Ed Logue, development administrator of New Haven from 1954 to 1960. He served the same role at the Boston Redevelopment Authority from 1961 until 1967. Logue’s work in both cities combined selective demolition with the insertion of new housing and civic buildings. Notable mid-century works of architecture in Wooster Square include the New Haven Fire Headquarters (Earl Carlin, 1961-62) and the Conte School (Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, 1962). The Utile team will explore strategies that encourage the better integration of these and other mid-century modern buildings into the fabric of the neighborhood.
Summer Interns and Co-ops
Utile is pleased to introduce our summer interns and six-month co-ops, who have been staffed on various projects throughout the office. From top left, clockwise: Ben Garbow, architecture major, Northeastern University; Melanie Hashiguchi, architecture major, Northeastern University; LaRae Brison, M. Arch student (landscape), Boston Architectural College; Chad Miller, M. Arch (landscape and architecture) student, University of Virginia; Davae Gibson, architecture major, Northeastern University; Maura O’Neill, psychology and philosophy major, Boston College. Welcome, and thank you for your hard work!
Tim Love goes to “Design Camp”
Tim Love was one of eight design leaders invited to Detroit to participate in the 7th Annual Enterprise Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute, held July 12th through 14th. “Design Camp” – the theme of this year’s Institute – gave six affordable housing development teams from across the country an opportunity to receive feedback on their conceptual design proposals. With three of the development teams based in Detroit, key staffers from the City of Detroit urban design and community housing departments were in attendance.
Tim was impressed with the breadth of the discussions, which focused on the intersection of development economics, community politics, landscape architecture, and the social implications of design decisions. He strongly recommends the program to affordable housing developers that haven’t yet participated.
Utile and TND celebrate ribbon cutting at One Beach in Revere
Utile and The Neighborhood Developers recently celebrated the ribbon cutting for One Beach, an affordable over-55 rental housing development in Revere, Massachusetts. Located within walking distance to downtown, several MBTA bus lines, and the Revere Senior Center, One Beach provides its residents with several communal amenity spaces as well as enhanced accessibility throughout the building. Mayor Brian Arrigo says of the development, “This new project provides an opportunity for seniors to enjoy safe, secure housing in a brand new facility. We gladly welcome One Beach to our community.” You can read The Boston Globe’s coverage of the event here.