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Waltham Hip?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis June 27, 2014 09:27 AM

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Big plans are afoot to remake downtown Waltham.

And given the Watch City's proximity to Cambridge and Somerville, it's not long before hipsters priced out of Davis Square "discover" Waltham.

A Newton developer has kicked off construction on a trio of five-story deluxe apartment buildings in the heart of Waltham center where the historic Mercantile Building once stood.

No cookie cutter design, the Merc at Moody & Main has a retro, late 19th century look, with masonry facades and large windows, in a nod to the Mercantile Building, torn down in 1979 in a belated spasm of urban renewal.

Northland Investment's first proposal, put forth several years ago, didn't go over too well with Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, who thought the modern design looked like something out of "The Jetsons."

"The architect (at the time) said to me 'You insult me,' and I said 'No, it's good for Cambridge, but it's really not good for this historic downtown Waltham," McCarthy told the Waltham News Tribune.

In fact, Northland's attempts to build apartments in downtown Waltham date back to at least 2007, when an earlier version with seven stories was derided as a behemoth that would cast shadows over Waltham Common.

Apparently five stories, the height of the current project, is a better fit.

Here's what the new Merc will look like when it's finished.

11-20-12_Moody and Main Rendering.jpg

The new Merc will feature 269 apartments, more than 27,000 feet of retail space and a 300-car parking garage.

Other amenities, according to a press release put out by the developer, include: "roof top deck, outdoor patio/courtyard area, a fitness center, library, game room, and richly appointed clubroom. The interior court will be landscaped and linked to Moody Street via a wide breezeway at the ground level. The well-equipped apartment homes will all feature washers and dryers, dishwashers, walk-in closets, stainless steel appliances, European-style cabinetry, and solid stone countertops."

Alas, now we come to the big mystery. What will it cost to rent an apartment at the Merc?

There is no mention of any rental ranges in the many articles that have been written about the project in the local papers, which seems odd.

I also fired off an email to the project's public relations flak asking for the numbers - will post them when they come in.

The biggest tip off, however, can be found on the project's website, where the apartments are clearly and prominently billed as "luxury." Translation: Lots of money.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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