Cambridge, MA – Nauset Construction broke ground last Friday on St. James Place, a transit-oriented, mixed-use development that will provide 46 condominiums and a new parish hall for the historic St. James Episcopal Church located in the heart of Porter Square.
The official groundbreaking ceremony, hosted by developer/owner Acorn Holdings, was attended by the City of Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern; Cambridge City Counselor Dennis Carlone; Bishop Alan M. Gates of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts; The Reverend Holly Lyman Antolini; the Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission Charles M. Sullivan; representatives from Nauset Construction, architectural firm Dumont, Janks, Goldberg, Reed and other key development personnel, as well as members of the congregation and community.
“This is really the type of project that we should be celebrating in our community,” said Mayor McGovern. “Not only is it bringing much needed housing to the community, it’s bringing the (historic) garden out to the street so that everyone can enjoy it. It’s also providing much-needed stability for this incredible congregation that means so much to the neighborhood and does so much to help those who are vulnerable. It really is a win all around.”
The construction of St. James Place was finally able to proceed following the dismissal of several time-consuming lawsuits, despite the partnership between the church and developer securing all the necessary permits from the Cambridge City Planning Board, the Cambridge City Historical Commission, and the MA Historical Commission, as well as an endorsement by the Smart Growth Alliance of Massachusetts. The new development will be constructed on the site of an abandoned car wash, long considered a neighborhood blight.
Designed by architectural firm Dumont, Janks, Goldberg, Reed LLC, St. James Place is located just steps from the MBTA Station, in the center of a bustling Porter Square neighborhood that features abundant shopping, dining and entertainment options. The project will link the historic St. James Episcopal Church to the new mixed-use complex that will add much needed condominium units and 2,000 SF of retail to housing-constrained Cambridge. The three floors of condominiums will include five affordable units and be constructed above the new 11,400 SF parish hall that will house classrooms for children’s programs, a library, a neighborhood food pantry, and music practice rooms. This new space will help enhance the resources that this historic church (built in 1888 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places) will be able to provide its congregation and the local community.
“The key elements of the St. James project really play to our strengths as a construction manager,” said Nauset Construction President Anthony Papantonis, whose firm is currently working on numerous projects in Cambridge. “The combination of a dense, urban infill site and a new, modern mixed-use community integrated with a historic church are all areas that Nauset excels in and has extensive experience.”