Boylston Properties teaming up with athenahealth CEO in bid to remake Arsenal area in Watertown

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A scruffy stretch of East Watertown, home to a pedestrian collection of stores and medical offices, may be destined for a makeover as a mecca for startups and young professionals. Boston developer Boylston Properties is teaming up with athenahealth Inc. chief executive Jonathan Bush and The Wilder Cos. to purchase the 225,000-square-foot Arsenal Mall and two other nearby parcels. They plan to transform them from “a black hole,” in Bush’s words, to “a cool place to live and play,” with loft apartments, hip restaurants, and boutiques catering to entrepreneurs and technology whiz kids. The goal is to extend the area’s innovation cluster into Watertown by offering lower rents and leases than in pricey Cambridge. “It’s going to be the Kendall Square lifestyle at half the price,” Bush said.

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