Slick New Cambridge Apartment Building Abuts Natural Preserve
David Bates / December 8, 2015-1:14 pm
There is living in the city and there is living in nature, and then there is living at Fuse Cambridge, the slick new 244-unit Cambridge Apartment building that abuts the 120-acre Alewife Brook Reservation. Just in front of Fuse Cambridge are signs of the modern world’s vitality and growth, and a few hundred yards right side facing is the convenient Alewife Station, where commuters go near and far by bus and Red Line train. But behind Fuse Cambridge, just beyond the two big old willow trees visible from this ground up apartment building’s 20-foot high transparent lobby, Alewife Brook Reservation makes its gracious presence known.
Sean Sacks, a director with Hines, the 60 year old company responsible for Fuse Cambridge, told me that the development goals included creating a visual and physical connection to nature. As a result, tenants and staff can admire the nature preserve’s scenic trails and pretty wooden boardwalks, enjoy water and woodland views, and on occasion spot diverse wildlife from a variety of vantage points in the building, including the double height lobby and the raised pool deck. Nathan Lopez with Bozzuto, the company responsible for leasing up Fuse Cambridge, said 56% of the building’s apartments are in the direction of this natural marvel that has been referred to as “an urban gem.”
Sacks – whose last project with another development company was next to a highway – told me that Hines’ three Hub projects (Fuse Cambridge; Currents on the Charles, Waltham; and Meriel Marina Bay, Quincy) all have access to the beautiful outdoor areas which allows residents the ability to come home at the end of the day and go for a walk or run or bike ride with their dog. At Fuse Cambridge residents have multiple outdoor options, for in addition to the neighboring Alewife Brook Reservation, the Minuteman Bike path is also nearby. No wonder this apartment building has more bike parking than car parking.
Inside, Fuse Cambridge has a modern, upscale feel. Its network lounge has zones that are both comfortable and functional. There are booths, free computers, and a conference room with one-of-a-kind, ultra cool Chamcha wood table made from the Acacia tree grown in Thailand. In another area, Fuse Cambridge has a full kitchen walled off from the function area, making it perfect preparation space for catered parties. Of course, Fuse Cambridge has the mandatory new building competitively-outfitted gym with hundreds of training videos, but you might find it surprising that at no extra cost the gym provides towel service. Then there are Fuse Cambridge’s pool, dog wash, and three Zipcars. Another very cool nature-modern connection off the lobby: a beautiful living green wall created and installed by Cityscapes.
Sacks expects amenities like these to attract entrepreneurs and multiple employees from the same nearby companies who appreciate the opportunity to live, work, and play not only in the same neighborhood, but in the same building. Lopez added that the building’s close access to Route 2 is also attracting folks who want city proximity and an easy reverse commute as well as those using the Red Line to travel to jobs in downtown and other Cambridge locales.
Compared to other similar buildings, Sacks says of Fuse Cambridge, which at its tallest is six stories, “We think we are a plus-one in terms of what we are doing. That’s our goal at least. You can tell me if we’ve achieved it or not.” The apartments have floor to ceiling windows, big bathrooms with big mirrors, roomy closets, high ceilings (9ft+) which create a spacious feel, kitchen islands with quartz counters, and stainless steel Energy Star appliances. Some apartments have outdoor balconies. Fuse Cambridge is LEED Silver which means the cost of electric and heat should be low compared to older buildings. Prices start at $2100 a month for a studio – with garage parking costing another $175 – and end at $3750 a month for a three bedroom. Lopez says the rents at Fuse Cambridge are already a third lower than many downtown and East Cambridge buildings. He also mentioned that the building is currently offering Black Friday type deals for signing a lease now, incentives which include a huge contribution toward the broker fee, free rent, and up to $1000 in other incentives.
From where it meets Route 2, Cambridge Park Drive still has the feel of a blast from the past industrial area, but a closer inspection reveals its transcendence as a portal to the future. Thanks to some rezoning, today it’s a bustling area for Life Sciences and residential living. Already, a nearby 398-unit apartment building finished a little over a year ago is said to be totally leased. On the street, there is a Whole Foods café and occasional food trucks. Sean Sacks sums up this new building’s challenge: “Just getting people here to check it out. People hesitate because they think Alewife is congested, but in reality it’s peaceful and tranquil.” He continued, “The best thing about this location is the proximity to this beautiful outdoor reservation – having that right outside your door and having the convenience all in one.”