Development of an Urban Village- Saint Polycarp Village

Somerville, MA, October, 2009-
To the development team, the decommissioned Saint Polycarp Church site in Somerville, MA represented a great opportunity- 3.5 acres of development potential in a dense city- with some distinct environmental challenges. The team’s vision was to create a green, mixed-use development that would serve the people of Somerville.

The newly built Saint Polycarp Village Apartments, a mixed-use building that adds a welcoming presence along the stark and elevated highway at the northern edge of Somerville, is the first addition to the site. The apartment building offers 24 affordable apartments, 3 ground-level retail spaces, and public landscaped outdoor space. Residents will benefit from extremely efficient systems, balcony views of downtown Boston and surrounding neighborhoods, and spacious and open floor plans.

The mixed-residential and retail building stretches parallel to the highway, and shelters the landscaped courtyard from the traffic and noise. Two historical stone buildings- the Saint Polycarp Church and Rectory- continue to occupy this now more peaceful campus setting; both have been re-occupied by local institutions for new uses.

The combination of cherished historical stone edifices and the cutting-edge, sustainable building is just the beginning of the phased development for the rest of the site. Butler Way will be transformed into a friendly pedestrian promenade that will connect the Winter Hill neighborhood with the historical church campus, four new public green spaces, 84 new energy-efficient homes, and a local convenience store. The result will be a vibrant mix of old and new, and a series of homes and green open spaces on the edge of the City.

The project is currently pursuing LEED Silver certification, an accomplishment that would verify the high level of sustainability targeted by the building developer, builder, and architect. Results from energy modeling, coupled with testing of the completed building, show that the building will use less than half the energy of other new construction. Few affordable housing developments have achieved this level of sustainability and resident amenity.

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