Charlesview in the News

Progress on the Charlesview Residences were featured in two news articles today.

First up, Construction Today – an industry trade magazine – ran an article focused on the complexity of the development and how general contractor John Moriarty and Associates, and co-developers The Community Builders and Charlesview Inc are managing to get it done.

The Harvard Crimson also ran an article today focused on construction progress and the upcoming relocation of residents from the existing Charlesview in Barry’s Corner.


Cornerstone Dedication

Father Glynn addresses the crowd

Father Glynn addresses the crowd

Pulling Nails

Charlesview board member / resident / worker John Cusack pulls nails to unveil the cornerstone

Unveiling Cornerstone

Unveiling Cornerstone


The cornerstone honors the three founding congregations of Charlesview Inc.

Charlesview Board

Charlesview Board members

On Wednesday, the Charlesview community celebrated the dedication of the cornerstone at the Charlesview Residences.

About 40 people attended the event in the blistering cold during lunchtime today, including Charlesview Board members and residents; staff from The Community Builders, our general contractor John Moriarty and Associates, CBT Architects, and MassHousing; representatives from Mayor Menino and Representative Honan’s offices; neighbors and other members of the Allston-Brighton community.

Jo-Ann Barbour, Executive Director of Charlesview, Inc. welcomed the community into the new Charlesview Residences as they gathered in the breezeway between what will be the Josephine Fiorentino Community Center and the Charlesview management office enjoying hot chocolate in the chilly space.  Reverand Jeffrey Hooker of Community United Methodist Church delivered an opening prayer. Father Frank Glynn of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and Chair of the Charlesview, Inc. Board delivered remarks celebrating the symbol of cooperation and community and the fruit of years of planning and work rising around us.  Anegla Holm, the Allston-Brighton Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods Services and herself a native of Charlesview also spoke about the meaning of this community.  Mary-Helen Black represented Harvard and spoke about how happy the University has been with this community partnership.

The crowd shuffled outside into the 5 degree weather to watch the unveiling of the Cornerstone itself, led by John Cusack who is a Charlesview resident, member of the Board, and also a worker on the construction site.  Back inside, Rabbi Yonah Berman of Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe delivered a closing benediction.

The Cornerstone dedication was just the first of many celebrations planned for 2013 as construction – now 65% complete – moves towards a finish, Charlesview residents prepare to move into their new homes, and the new community center prepares to open with exciting new programming for the Allston-Brighton community.

A Peek Inside


Interior Framing in early December. This space now has drywall.


This is the view from a 2nd floor living room facing Western Ave.


Here’s the view from a 2nd floor bedroom facing south towards the townhomes. Paper wrapping on the floors protects the hard flooring during construction.


Here’s a kitchen on the 2nd floor, waiting for appliance installation.


Last week, we featured the hard work being done to frame our townhomes in the cold weather.  This week, let’s take a peek inside the slightly warmer mid-rises (permanent heat has yet to turn on as gas meters have just been delivered from National Grid) to take a look at the apartment interiors.

Week by week, the interiors of the mid-rise buildings look more and more like finished apartments. Interior work begins with the first residential level on the 2nd floor and progressively moves up to the 5th floor; first with framing and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, followed by drywall, ceilings, painting, unit and hallway doors, kitchen floors, kitchen cabinets, tubs and showers, bathroom tile, bathroom cabinets, toilets, remaining unit flooring, lighting and appliance installation.

The units on the 2nd floor of the D1 building are furthest along. It is easy now to stand in a kitchen and picture yourself pulling food from the fridge, prepping on the counter, cooking on the stove top, and rotating over to plate on the countertops and drop things in the sink – all in natural light flowing in from the large living room windows. Within a month or so the first units will be completed, though it will be several more months before the buildings are fully complete and receive certificates of occupancy so that residents can really get cooking in these new homes.

Winter Construction

WoodFramingAs winter sets in at the site, construction continues with many crews continuing their work outdoors. While work on the steel-framed mid-rises is primarily shifting indoors, workers constructing our wood-framed buildings have been battling the cold to get these buildings up. Eight of the twenty wood buildings have been framed, with another two currently in progress. Although chilly now, these high performance buildings are being built under the New Homes with Energy Star program, which requires the construction crews to maintain extremely high standards with regard to air sealing, insulation, and duct sealing. In addition to a well sealed and insulated envelope, these buildings will feature energy efficient equipment for heating, lighting, and appliances. In total, the team expects these efforts to result in a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, when compared to a standard new construction home. These expectations will be verified at project completion through a series of third party tests, to be conducted by Conservation Services Group. Results will be published to this blog, so stay tuned. In the meantime, think warm thoughts for those working outside this week.

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Halfway There

Construction has now passed 50% completion.

12-5 D1 roof

Exterior work on the Western Avenue mid-rises is nearly finished, and construction activity is shifting towards building out the interior of the mid-rises in time for winter.  Framing of the C-block townhomes is nearly complete.  A-block townhome framing continues apace, and the E2 mid-rise is rising along Telford Street.  Window installation, mechanical-electrical-plumbing work, spray-foam, and  roofing are also proceeding on the townhomes, beginning with C block.  New roads inside the site are paved.  Work on the land that will be a park along Justinian Way has begun. Standing in the middle of the site, Charlesview is beginning to really look like an extension of the older Brighton neighborhood to the south and west.

Thanks to the incredible work by JM-A and their subcontractors, with a little assist from a mild winter in 2012, this milestone is being reached well in advance of initial projections.  As we turn towards another winter, we are fortunate that so much exterior work has already been completed on the site.  We are also focused on beginning the move-in process, working with residents of the existing Charlesview site in Barry’s Corner to be ready to move by late Spring / early Summer.   Potential retail tenants are beginning to look at the spaces along Western Avenue.  The community center space is taking shape as well with plans for a computer center, classrooms, and community meeting space proceeding.  The next half of construction will be very exciting as this new community solidifies.

Charlesview Survives Sandy

Sandy tore off some newly installed shingles from the roofs of townhomes C1 and C2

Hurricane Sandy brought massive destruction to Haiti and the Caribbean and unprecedented damage to New York, New Jersey, and much of the rest of the east coast.  But closer to home, we were also worried how the Charlesview construction site could weather the storm.

The quality work and preparation by our contractors, along with some good luck, helped Charlesview through with just some minor setbacks.

Sandy only set the construction schedule back by about 2 days as masons, carpenters, roofers, and other trades were unable to work on account of the storm.  The damage Sandy dealt to New York may cause further delays as a window delivery was expected from a manufacturer in Flushing, Queens.

Damage to the site was limited to:

  • 2 pieces of decking torn from stair tower on E2
  • Minor water damage to D1 mid-rise
  • Flooding in garage because storm drains have yet to be tied into city system
  • Some newly installed shingles on C1 and C2 roofs lost and damaged
TCB Construction Manager Doug Tierney inspecting pooled water on site

TCB Construction Manager Doug Tierney inspecting pooled water on site

Since this storm hit before the site’s storm water management system was tied into the city system and complete and before the buildings have been sealed from the elements, we got very lucky that damage at Charlesview was limited.  We can worry instead about Haiti, New York, New Jersey and others that took a direct hit from Sandy.