Cambridge, MA– Construction is now underway for a mixed-use project that will add 18,000 SF of Class A office space to supply-constrained Harvard Square while revitalizing the existing retail space within the Crimson Galeria.
Located at 57 JFK Street in the heart of one of Greater Boston’s most iconic settings, the redevelopment is being undertaken by Needham-based Nauset Construction for owner Crimson Galeria LP.
The Harvard Square submarket of Cambridge is experiencing historic lows in terms of office vacancy (under two percent) in one of the region’s most prized retail districts, and the transit-oriented location has earned both walk and bike scores of 98 from walkscore.com.
“We view this project as an opportunity to provide much-needed office space to Harvard Square while also upgrading our retail space,” said developer Raj Dhanda, owner of the Crimson Galeria. “Tenants want to be located near public transit nodes with walkable amenities, so we believe this space will appeal to a variety of office users.”
Designed by Peter Quinn Architects, there are many inherent complexities to this project. One of the challenges is that the 57 JFK site is part of a larger parcel that extends to 96 Winthrop St., known as the Hyde-Taylor House (formerly home to the original location of the House of Blues, founded by Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and members of Aerosmith) and now the home of The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770.
The building, constructed in 1846, is a Designated Landmark in the City Registry of Landmarked Properties. While no work is planned for that structure, the building will need to be underpinned and temporarily shored during the excavation process. Nauset, the owner and the architect worked closely with the Cambridge Historic Commission during the pre-construction phase as part of the project approval process.
Other challenges include working on a tight urban site with a limited laydown area and implementing proactive measures to ensure a safe working environment with minimal disruption to existing building mechanical and life-safety systems, as well as the safety of tenants and their customers as the retail and restaurant spaces remain occupied during renovation and construction.
“This project involves working on a tight, occupied urban infill site – something that we consider to be one of our niches as a construction manager,” said Nauset Construction President Anthony Papantonis, whose firm is currently working on numerous projects in Cambridge. “Safety is paramount when working in highly trafficked areas, as well as ensuring that our construction efforts are minimally disruptive to the retailers and their customers.”