BioMed (XMBLY) | 5 Middlesex Ave | Assembly SQ | Somerville

Bananarama

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JumboBuc

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Do developers think people are convinced by the 10" deep setbacks and flimsy cornices, using the same gridded casement window, like this is a true built-up organic neighborhood? Definitely one of the worst trends.

This could be anywhere.
Small scale 5-over-1 developers think and know, they just don't care. In a rental market this tight, exterior aesthetics for any given building just doesn't matter. So design is done to 1) minimize cost and 2) gain regulatory approval. The cheap design with silly gimmicks you see here check both boxes. It's unfortunate, but that's where we are.

But while aesthetics for any given building doesn't really matter, aesthetics for a neighborhood does matter on a more macro scale. People's willingness to pay isn't really affected by living in the lamest looking building in the neighborhood, but willingness-to-pay is affected by living in a lame looking neighborhood. Exterior aesthetics are something of an externality in this sense, whereby on the aggregate they affect the people not living in the building more than the people living in it.

The original Assembly Row buildings got a lot of flack on this forum for their "Disney" look, but the XMBLY designs really show just how much better the FRIT architecture just up the street is. One of the reasons for this is that FRIT does care how its buildings look, because it's building up (and selling) the neighborhood more than it is the individual buildings. So FRIT, to some extent, is internalizing their externalities. The XMBLY developer is basically selling access to the neighborhood and amenities FRIT has developed, so they're happy to free ride on FRIT's investments but not invest in the aesthetics of their own building.
 

Vagabond

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In a rental market this tight, exterior aesthetics for any given building just doesn't matter.
This is the key- if supply can catch up a bit with demand, pricing will better reflect quality instead of just availability. I really like that this neighborhood now has a secondary owner to compete with on price and services. Add in a few more towers like what's proposed at One Mystic and we might have ourselves an actual market-based neighborhood.

As for the townhouses... They don't even fit the rest of the XMBLY block style- no idea what happened there. They could have at least tried to blend like at Northpoint.
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DZH22

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I'm curious, since when did 5 over 1's become 6 over 1's and then become 6 over 2's? This is 8 stories, mostly made of wood. We used to stop at 6.
 

stick n move

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I'm curious, since when did 5 over 1's become 6 over 1's and then become 6 over 2's? This is 8 stories, mostly made of wood. We used to stop at 6.
It appears to be 5 over 3, where the first 3 floors are concrete instead of steel. Not sure on the regulations there with concrete vs steel but its still only 5 wood floors.
 

BeeLine

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Czervik.Construction

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I just noticed in the middle of all those pics that they are hand-laying the brick. Kudos to them.

How much more does that cost vs. precast panels?
 

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