What’s New: Construction Zones

Porter Square BooksPorter Square Books. Photo by Irina M. / IM Creative Photography.

Porter Square
Porter Square Books Expands

As Boston’s Seaport district makes plans to open a new literary center, it’s teaming up with one of Cambridge’s most beloved bookstores to anchor the project. Porter Square Books will expand outside of its eponymous home into this new development in the Seaport, along with literary nonprofits GrubStreet and Mass Poetry, Publishers Weekly reports. The complex will also house classrooms, offices, a cafe, and a performance space. While the bustling Seaport district is a far cry from the cozy Porter Square community, Porter Square Books co-owner David Sandberg says the team is up for the challenge of being the first local bookstore in the area.

East Cambridge
More Luxury Apartments on the Horizon

Developer Urban Spaces has begun construction on Kendall East, a new luxury apartment complex located across from CambridgeSide, the Cambridge Day reports. Kendall East, which developers hope will be available for renters in 2020, will contain 136 apartments across two buildings. A two-story underground parking garage and over 14,000 square feet of retail space are also included with the project. Sixteen of the units will be designated as affordable, but developers have made it clear that the rest will cater to those willing to pay top dollar: “The demand for luxury apartments in East Cambridge has never been greater,” Paul Ognibene, chief executive of Urban Spaces, told the Day.

East Cambridge
Sullivan Courthouse and Jail Gets a Facelift

The Sullivan Courthouse and jail, the 282-foot tall Brutalist structure that looms over East Cambridge, may soon be approved for a long-awaited renovation, the Boston Globe reports. The tower, which has not been in use for over five years, has lately become a center of controversy: while developers are itching to makeover the imposing structure, local residents are calling for it to be torn down and replaced by a community space or affordable housing. 

Developer Leggat McCall wants to tone down the structure’s not-so-pretty concrete exterior and transform the building into office, retail, and open space. In a nod to community demands, the development would also include 24 apartments with affordable housing for low- to moderate-income tenants. The company has agreed to pay the city $33 million for the building, and if a deal to meet the parking requirement goes through, renovations could begin this fall. 

This story originally appeared in the What’s New section of the Voices of the City Issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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