West Cambridge / Alewife Area Infill & Small Developments

Czervik.Construction

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I'm so happy that Burger King is still there. I have fond childhood memories of that place and the Ground Round (RIP) in the roundabout.
 

Brad Plaid

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A brief Alewife crawl...

If you lived here you'd be inhaling these fumes by now.
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The long closed Bertucci's at the station.
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A gentle reminder that Alewife is a part of the People's Republik
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Another life science lab.
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Revival was an existing restaurant but now there is a Mothership brand which may just be an update of Revival. At any rate they now have some sweet outdoor space.
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Across the street the existing corporate lawn was converted to what seems to be the now trendy rocky moat look. The Mothership building also had some lawn upgrades but not as dramatic. It's all quite nice.
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Everyone in this construction fence illustration is in a fixed-stare, Stepford bot trance.
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Something for the dogs
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If you're looking for a neutron bomb movie filming location this will do nicely.
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Overall there is still no there here although some there is being added bit by bit. The huge residential building under construction could be a tipping point in activating things and getting bodies on these sidewalks. There now is a greater sense of enclosure on the streets and that creates a welcome intimacy. The station needs a massive reinvention, some people with urban imagination and the ability to get it done and whatever eventually replaces Summer Shack and this huge parking lot will likely decide if Alewife remains a bedroom suburb or not.
 
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type001

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I got takeout from Summer Shack Saturday night, and I couldn't believe how built up the area is now.
 

Charlie_mta

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I don't like any of it. The whole area now looks like a sprawling fringe city in Oklahoma or some other god-forsaken place. This was my home turf when I was a kid as I grew up just a few blocks east of here. Alewife was great back in the 1950s and 60s: low density light industrial/commercial with vast open grassy and wetland areas . Sad to see it become a "There is no there, there" labyrinth of look-alike Lego boxes. The city of Cambridge has totally failed this once beautiful area.
 

Cortes

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I don't like any of it. The whole area now looks like a sprawling fringe city in Oklahoma or some other god-forsaken place. This was my home turf when I was a kid as I grew up just a few blocks east of here. Alewife was great back in the 1950s and 60s: low density light industrial/commercial with vast open grassy and wetland areas . Sad to see it become a "There is no there, there" labyrinth of look-alike Lego boxes. The city of Cambridge has totally failed this once beautiful area.
Im a little younger than you, but my dad worked in Acorn Park at Arthur D. Little for my entire childhood. He was largely responsible for figuring out how they could exit the area when the company went bankrupt. It was an absolute nightmare because Acorn Park was/is in three towns. Cambridge takes its fair share of the blame forthe mess, but state screwed the entire area with Route 2, and then made it worse with the ridiculous nature of Alewife Station. Given the current state of the concrete at the station, i hope its absolutely destroyed and reimagined by as soon as humanly possible.
 

Charlie_mta

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Im a little younger than you, but my dad worked in Acorn Park at Arthur D. Little for my entire childhood. He was largely responsible for figuring out how they could exit the area when the company went bankrupt. It was an absolute nightmare because Acorn Park was/is in three towns. Cambridge takes its fair share of the blame forthe mess, but state screwed the entire area with Route 2, and then made it worse with the ridiculous nature of Alewife Station. Given the current state of the concrete at the station, i hope its absolutely destroyed and reimagined by as soon as humanly possible.
Interesting info from you about Arthur D. Little. I'm old enough to remember the amusement park that was on that site prior. Do you remember the Alewife Station site before it was built? There was a Donuts Please restaurant on the site where my dad worked as a cook. Then across Alewife Brook Parkway was the Big Burger. Quite the architecture on that one:
 

Brad Plaid

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That Big Burger...a googie diamond, just love it. No doubt it was demolished without the slightest hesitation. The mid-century history of Alewife is turning out to be quite interesting: a drive-in theater, Donuts Please, Big Burger, an amusement park. Guess Lanes and Games was the last of it remaining. The location of L&G always seemed a bit odd, why here in the middle of nowhere. Makes a lot more sense now considering the context of that time.
 

Charlie_mta

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Im a little younger than you, but my dad worked in Acorn Park at Arthur D. Little for my entire childhood. He was largely responsible for figuring out how they could exit the area when the company went bankrupt. It was an absolute nightmare because Acorn Park was/is in three towns. Cambridge takes its fair share of the blame forthe mess, but state screwed the entire area with Route 2, and then made it worse with the ridiculous nature of Alewife Station. Given the current state of the concrete at the station, i hope its absolutely destroyed and reimagined by as soon as humanly possible.
I posted in another thread (at https://archboston.com/community/threads/proposed-but-never-built.2304/page-9#post-404796) an Alewife station complex proposed in the late 1960s, which was more of a multi-use facility than the station that actually got built. Arthur D. Little was the designer for that version of the station (the one not built).
 

Charlie_mta

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Was the Big Burger Ranch between the parkway and Jerry’s Pond?
Yes. It was on the NE corner of the Rindge Ave/Alewife Brook Parkway intersection. it was really big and sweeping, a great example of the mid-century suburban California car-hop culture that was huge all over the US at the time. It was demolished about the time the current Alewife Red Line Station was built, even though it was across the highway from the station.
 

RandomWalk

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Ok. I have childhood memories of it being a fenced in vacant lot roughly across Rindge from Joyce Chen.
 

W-4

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This area desperately needs some bars or entertainment of some sort. Hell -- even a restaurant open after 3PM would be a start. Nobody willingly lingers around here.
 

Cortes

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I posted in another thread (at https://archboston.com/community/threads/proposed-but-never-built.2304/page-9#post-404796) an Alewife station complex proposed in the late 1960s, which was more of a multi-use facility than the station that actually got built. Arthur D. Little was the designer for that version of the station (the one not built).
I was too young to properly understand, but the loss of ADL was a disaster. My father would take me to Kendall and show me the building where "we had live cows in the basement".
As far as I can tell, and my account is apocryphal, was that it was horrific management that killed ADL. My father even had a lease arrangement ironed out with the Arsenal in Watertown, and the board killed it.

The way the board ultimately sold the land is the disaster we are currently witnessing. They had to give the "master plan" of Acorn Park over to three different municipalities. And they did. Yes they did.

And yes, I know who "the board" was...
 

Charlie_mta

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52 New St, 100 affordable units right next to Danehy Park on the site of Evolve Fitness. A landscaper, the size will probably get pushback. https://www.52newstreet.org
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Not that bad of a location for low-income housing, as it is near the Red Line station and buses on Concord Ave. However, I always hate to see large low-income housing developments isolated in non-residential areas, and not integrated into existing neighborhoods. The isolation breeds crime. I speak from experience, having grown up in Jefferson Park off Rindge Ave in N Cambridge, which actually was adjacent to a fine established neighborhood, but still was large and isolated enough to become a crime problem. I learned how to fight pretty well growing up there, LOL.
 

Charlie_mta

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Looking at this 52 New Street site on Google maps, it has some access and livability issues for a low-income housing site. The nearest playground is 2 blocks away in Danahy park. I don't see a new playground proposed for the apartment development of 100 families. A large group of tennis courts abuts the proposed development, of little use for young families with kids, which many of them will be. Also there is no direct pedestrian route over to Fresh Pond Parkway so that people can directly walk to Alewife Red Line Station. This is typical of the way that Cambridge does zero planning and futuring of new development to prepare an area for livability. There is no provision for pedestrian paths and no rational street system.

New Street ends abruptly at the Fresh Pond Shopping Center parking lot, but it logically should continue through as a formal street with curbs and sidewalks, to continue under Fresh Pond Parkway. If one walks up New Street, you hit the parking lot with no sidewalks, and there is no stairway or paved path up to Fresh Pond Parkway to walk over the Fitchburg Division to the Red Line station. The area around this proposed development is a mess with new buildings just plopped down onto a mishmash of alley type streets that used to be railroad ROWs, and no provision or planning for pedestrian tie-throughs to transit or shopping. Typical Cambridge cluelessness on planning. It' supposedly is a progressive, intelligent city but it totally misses the mark on simply setting up a neighborhood to be developed correctly. Boston actually does a much better job at this.
 

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