The Green District is the largest privately funded multifamily community in Allston, Mass., with planned occupancy of more than 500 in what eventually will be eight distinct buildings. Five of those structures are existing buildings that date from the 1940s to the 1970s and have been retrofitted for energy efficiency with reflective roofs and super-insulated windows. Three are brand-new.
This year, the project gained its second new building, The Edge, a 79-unit residence. Targeted at urban professionals who want to be within walking distance of Boston’s public transportation system in order to get downtown quickly, The Edge answers the city’s need for reasonably priced, quality rentals that are also transit-friendly. The four-story, $17.4 million building was fully leased before construction even began. The industrial-style, contemporary façade has Zalmag metal panels that avoid corrosion, steel doors, full-height windows, angular rainscreens, and mix of materials in an area characterized by pre-1940s housing as well as low-cost student dwellings sporting traditional brick and stucco façades.
The Edge offers even more to attract young professional tenants. Layouts were designed in the popular open loft-style plan with 10-foot-high ceilings. To improve occupancy, architects Prellwitz Chilinski Associates researched how young urban residents prefer to live. They discovered that it was important to keep the kitchen/living/dining areas as open as possible for maximum flexibility because during the leasing process prospective tenants—who like to lay out their spaces in a variety of ways—want to visualize how they can personalize their units.
To further deliver what an eco-conscious cohort expects, residents of The Edge sign a “Green Declaration” (see sidebar). Common areas answer the need for sociability; amenity spaces include a fitness center that opens through big glass garage-style doors to a barbecue patio and putting green. To lessen upkeep and pare down costs, dry grasses were planted that require minimal irrigation. Additional green features that helped The Edge gain LEED Platinum certification include solar roof panels, Icyenene insulation, an electric car charging station, and bicycle storage that accommodates two bikes per unit.