In growing cities nationwide, the displacement of longtime residents has emerged as a major concern. “To keep neighborhoods affordable and accessible,” says TAT’s Michael Binette, AIA, NCARB, “we’re working with developers, non-profits, and public officials to expand or redevelop existing affordable and workforce housing developments — adding more residential units while preserving affordability and dramatically enhancing livability.”
Faced with a persistent shortage in housing supply across the U.S., architects and developers are responding with solutions that demonstrate the continued value of adaptive reuse, and the benefits of new approaches including prefabricated and modular construction.Across the northeast, TAT is reactivating formerly vacant or underutilized structures as new housing. In Attleboro, Massachusetts, the firm has converted a historic jewelry factory into 93 units of senior housing called Sterling Lofts, offering important rental options for the state’s rapidly growing over-60 population.
3) New residential and mixed-use opportunities transform urban cores
“With new air rights developments, hotel towers, and uniquely positioned residential properties, many urban cores are set for major transformations in 2020 as closely watched and long-awaited projects reach major milestones,” says Michael Liu, AIA, NCARB, a principal at TAT.
For example, one of one of Boston’s biggest real estate stories in a generation, Fenway Center, will soon cross a watershed moment with its first phase approaching completion and its second phase on track to kick off this year. TAT’s design for this 1.3 million-square-foot air rights complex adds housing, commercial office space, and retail uses while decking over a major highway and reconnecting three neighborhoods with new green space, public art, and pedestrian and transit connections. The first phase, Bower, offers 312 apartments, 37,000 square feet of retail, and 12,000 square feet of public open space.
A hotel boom continues, too, with one of the northeast’s most eagerly anticipated mixed-use towers – the Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences, designed by TAT for the prestigious international hospitality group and developer Trinity Stuart LLC. After a fall 2019 groundbreaking, the 33-story high-rise is now under construction, transforming a prime corner site into a regional destination as the first Raffles mixed-use property in the United States.Design teams are also unlocking new opportunities in dense, built-up areas where large sites are hard to find. In Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, TAT’s Archer Residences reimagines two six-story former university buildings as a single, 172,000-square-foot residential property topped off with a pair of contemporary penthouse additions and a sweeping landscaped roof terrace.
Identified by commercial real estate services group Commercial Café as one of the country’s fastest-growing Rust Belt cities, Rochester, NY is on a path towards a new era of success. One of the linchpins of this recovery is Sibley Square, the TAT-designed conversion of a 1-million-square-foot former downtown department store into housing, a community marketplace, and high-tech workplace environments. A major indoor market is set to open within the phased, WinnDevelopment-led project this year.Smaller gateway cities like Worcester, MA, are on the upswing too, thanks to projects like Courthouse Lofts, TAT’s conversion of the historic Worcester County Courthouse into 117 units of housing. Nearing completion, the Trinity Financial-led property also holds a first-in-the-nation museum celebrating local icon and pioneering African-American cyclist Major Taylor.
5) New waterfront developments boost resiliency, enhance public access
Increasingly vulnerable, flood-prone urban waterfronts remain desirable sites for new residential and mixed-use development. Forward-thinking design teams are taking a holistic approach to these projects, employing hard and soft approaches to shoreline design, strategic landscaping, and elevated public use areas. The result? Properties that can absorb storm surges while enhancing the public realm and long-term viability.
TAT’s recently opened Clippership Wharf, a 12-acre, 478-unit mixed-use complex developed by Lendlease in East Boston, has garnered national attention for this approach, which also offers residents and community members access to a harborwalk, beachfront area and floating dock with a kayak launch. The project’s first phase of condos sold out in eight weeks.