Welcome to Centers and Squares
As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.
The Washingtonian is a Cambridge condo building at the corner of Linnaean Street and Washington Avenue. This handsome yellow brick building houses 27 one, two, and three-bedroom condominiums. At the base of Avon Hill and close to Porter Square and Harvard Square, the shops, restaurants and boutiques that line Mass Avenue are just a few blocks away.
The Washingtonian was designed by Boston architect John A. Hasty and built in 1912. Hasty also designed the Newport Road Condos building and many other Cambridge homes and buildings during the Victorian period and early 1900s. Watch this space for an article on Hasty and the Cambridge houses and buildings he designed.
Features of the Washingtonian Condos
Condos at the Washingtonian are elegant and charming. Original details include:
- corner cabinets in the dining room with leaded glass doors
- decorative tiled fireplaces
- picture moldings
- transom windows
Other features of condos at the Washingtonian include:
- maple floors
- bay windows
- living room, formal dining room, one to three bedrooms
- private basement storage and common bike storage
- common laundry with in-unit laundry in some condos
- expansive backyard and garden
Recent Condo Sales at the Washingtonian
Condos at the Washingtonian range in size from just over 800 sq.ft. to 1300+ sq.ft. Most have two or three bedrooms. Many have been renovated to varying degrees.
Recent condominium sales include:
- 1147 sq.ft. two-bedroom in close to original condition sold for $390,000 in 2008
- 1365 sq. ft. three-bedroom condominium sold for $599,000 in 2008
- 1144 sq.ft. two-bedroom sold for $485,000 in 2008
- 1374 sq.f t. three-bedroom condo sold for $600,000 in 2009
The Washingtonian condos span the corner of Linnaean St. and Washington Ave. The addressses for the condominiums are 27 – 31 Linnaean Street and 5 – 9 Washington Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138.
Cambridge real estate agents – or at least the big bunch that work at Coldwell Banker – every Wednesday tour the properties that are coming on the market for the weekend. It’s a great way to get a first look at a lot of real estate and is one of my favorite days of the week.
I’ve taken to carrying my camera with me looking for fodder for this blog. We’re often out and about through three to six towns, touring up to 20+ properties, so there’s a good chance I’ll stumble across something that’s picture-worthy.
This pickup truck was cause for a double-take. I don’t know the story behind it – if you do let me know. There’s a mini-farm – a garden bed – a raised bed for sure – in this truck bed. Corn, tomatoes, and a bunch of other plants that I assume are also vegetables (can you guess I’m not a gardener?). We spotted it on a Somerville side street and every real estate agent with a camera was snapping away. Wherever this truck goes it’s sure to be a head-turner.
Check back for more oddities and interesting sights spotted while we’re out and about in Cambridge, Somerville and nearby towns. And if you’d like a heads up about properties we see on our weekly real estate tour or want to talk about how our property tour can get your home sold fast give me a call at 617-504-1737.
Do you need air conditioning in Cambridge? If you’re asking that question in the summer of 2009 the answer is No! I haven’t even taken the fans down from the attic. But this summer is exceptional – usually we do get a few stretches of hot and humid weather.
But this is New England after all and you have to wonder – is air conditioning essential? More and more buyers seem to think so. Me? I’m not a fan (no pun intended!) of air conditioning at home. It simply was never that common around here – nor should it be – the Northeast summers just don’t justify it. My parents have never had it and as an adult I’ve had a/c only once in a condo I owned for just one year. I’m not a fan of heat and humidity so I completely understand air conditioning’s allure but can’t justify the expense myself – or the lack of fresh air. But to each their own – and if the house of my dreams happened to come with central air I’m sure come July or August I’d be delighted to be cool.
One of my new pet peeves is that newly constructed condo buildings in Massachusetts have been awarded various “green” certifications despite having air conditioning. There is nothing green about home air conditioning in the Northeast.
Air conditioning at work or in public buildings is another story. In the A/C temperature wars at work I’m firmly in the camp of colder-is-better. A/C in a real estate office that houses 50+ agents and even more pieces of office equipment is essential. Energy dollars spent for the benefit of many people rather than a few makes all sorts of sense.
It seems that more people – in the interest of the environment and their pocketbooks – are foregoing air conditioning. Today’s New York Times Home section had an article “The Unchilled Life” about this trend. Several of those interviewed live in much hotter parts of the US. Luckily for us in Cambridge, our older housing stock is often designed in a way that promotes natural cooling:
“Houses built before the 1960s, when widespread use of window air conditioners began, tended to incorporate many of the elements that make it easier to stay cool: higher ceilings, alignment of windows to facilitate cross-ventilation, more windows on the north side of the house than the sun-exposed south, and a large covered porch to shield the sunniest part of the house.”
There are some great tips in the article for surviving the hot days and nights sans A/C. Read more tips for staying cool here.
In addition to the article about air conditioning or the lack thereof, today’s NYT Homesection had articles on the Brimfield flea market, a spread about a fabulous renovation of a lake house in New York, and a piece about a garden in Norwich Vermont. Though it’s a bit slimmer nowadays, if you’re at all house-obsessed the Thursday New York Times is a weekly treat not to be missed.
In the end my method for dealing with the hottest of days is to spend plenty of time in my air conditioned real estate office in Cambridge. Stop on by – we’re at 171 Huron Ave in Cambridge.
Barack Obama attended Harvard Law School in Cambridge from 1988 to 1991. While in school in Cambridge Obama rented an apartment – a “garden level” unit as real estate agents often call them – at 365 Broadway in Somerville on Winter Hill.
As soon as I heard that Barack Obama had rented on Broadway I figured it was this building. It’s a very distinctive brick rowhouse complex built in 1889 called Langmaid Terrace.
In Beyond the Neck: The Architecture and Development of Somerville, Massachusetts Langmaid Terrace is described as “one of the most architecturally significant” of the brick apartment buildings and rowhouses that were built in Somerville in the late 1800s.
The authors of Beyond the Neck describe 359 – 365 Broadway
“Among the finest apartment row[s] in the city is this brick and terra cotta building, with a variety of roofs and crenellated parapets.”
Today Broadway is a major thoroughfare that cuts across Somerville from Charlestown to Arlington. A bus stop sits right out front. The door to Obama’s basement apartment can just barely be seen behind the tree in the lower left corner of the picture above. There is no sign or plaque to indicate that the future President of the United States once called this home.
On April 18, 1775 Paul Revere’s ride took him up Broadway and there is a plaque to commemorate Revere just a couple of blocks from the President’s old digs (not to mention Paul Revere Beverages, a package store).
Today the 89 Bus will take you by Barack Obama’s old apartment at 365 Broadway in Somerville.
The Central Square neighborhood has become very popular with Cambridge real estate buyers.
With a Red Line stop at its center and a location midway between Boston and Harvard Square, and with MIT and the Charles River just down the street, Central Square is number one on the list for many people moving to Cambridge.
I’ve often noticed that when people move to Cambridge from Manhattan or other large cities, Central Square is the Cambridge neighborhood that feels most like a city neighborhood to them. Mass Ave in Central Square is lined with older, taller commercial buildings, there are plenty of small shops, restaurants, and clubs, and lots of pedestrian traffic.
While many lament that Central Square is becoming gentrified, it remains a grittier, funkier square than Harvard or Porter Square. There’s a critical mass of bars, clubs with live music, and funky stores that have held on in the neighborhood for years. There’s a great mix of ethnic restaurants with a few national chains mixed in. A number of the restaurants have outdoor seating along Mass Ave.
Central Square Real Estate Options
Cambridge real estate buyers who want walk-to access to Central Square have several neighborhoods to choose from. Mid-Cambridge, Inman Square, Cambridgeport, Riverside, and the blocks with the streets named after Massachusetts counties (Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, etc) all offer easy access to Central Square.
Looking only at the Cambridge real estate listings identified in MLS as in Central Square – keep in mind that many listings don’t include neighborhood and many properties may be listed in one of the other neighborhoods listed above – here are the average sales prices in Central Square in MLSpin over the last two years:
Single family homes in Central Square:
- Sold between $305,000 and $780,000
- Average sales price $608,310
Central Square condos:
- Sold between $169,000 and $600,000
- Average sales price $352,527
- Average cost per square foot $412
Click here to Search for Central Square Cambridge Real Estate. You can expand the search parameters to include more listings.
Here are some more photos of Central Square Cambridge MA:
The 20 townhouses at 177 Pemberton Street in Cambridge MA were built in 1997. The association is known as Pemberton Place and is a popular option for Cambridge real estate buyers who like newer construction and lots of space.
Features of the 177 Pemberton Townhouses Include:
- 2100 to 2750+ sq. ft.
- 6 to 8 rooms
- Vaulted ceilings
- Three bedrooms including a master bedroom with bath
- Three bathrooms
- Garage parking space
- Central air conditioning
- Wood burning fireplace
- Central vac
- Private patio
Pemberton Place is just down the street from the tennis courts, playing field, and community garden on Pemberton Street and an easy walk to three Red Line stations – Alewife, Davis Square and Porter Square.
Recent Sales at 177 Pemberton St Cambridge MA
- 7 room, 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 2111 sq. ft. townhouse sold in 2004 for $579,000
- 8 room, 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath, 2769 sq. ft condo sold for $650,000 in 2005
- 7 room, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 2138 sq. ft. townhouse condo sold for $645,000 in 2005
- 7 room, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 2111 sq. ft. condominum sold for $640,000 in 2007
Pemberton Place is at 177 Pemberton Street, Cambridge, MA 02140.
A turret, or a tower as it’s also called, is an enormously appealing house part. There’s something romantic about a tower and the rooms inside it. The pull is strong enough that some people search for a house with a turret to call home – and around Cambridge they just may find one.
Turrets or towers were features in houses in several architectural styles including the Second Empire, Shingle Style, Romanesque Revival, and Gothic Revival. It is the Queen Anne style however that is most commonly identified with the turret. Many of these turreted Queen Anne Victorians can be found around Cambridge, Arlington and Somerville.
Turrets were typically topped with conical roofs, often covered in slate. Multi-sided turrets were capped with multi-sided roofs. The roof on a Second Empire Mansard tower often mimics the mansard roof of the main portion of the house.
Here are some other house parts we love:
Here are some pictures of houses with turrets.
Parking your car can be enough of a challenge in Cambridge. Finding the equivalent of three adjacent parking spaces for your moving truck can be close to impossible.
With just a bit of planning you can reserve a space – a really big space! – with a Moving Van Permit from Cambridge’s Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department.
Moving Van Permits:
- Application must be submitted six business days in advance
- Cost is $25 for a truck up to 49 feet or $50 for 50 ft+ per day
- If the reserved space includes metered spaces there’s an additional $10 per parking meter fee
The Traffic and Parking Department will post signs reserving your space for the allotted time. A bit of advice – be generous with your time expectations – a move always seems to take much longer than you anticipate.
Click here for info about the Cambridge moving van permit and an application. Be sure to disable popups before clicking on the link for the application.
I can say from personal experience that this was the best money I spent for my move to Cambridge.