485 Arsenal Street or Building “F” in the Arsenal Yards mixed use development was completed in 2021. Part of the repurposing of the former Arsenal in Watertown, Massachusetts, the project is situated along the Charles River, a prime location between Cambridge and Boston.
Designed to meet the work/shop/eat/play mix of an urban village, the entire development will cover more than 1 million square feet. That includes 250,000 SF of shops and eateries, a cinema, office space, hotel and multi-family residences.
The complex converted the former enclosed Arsenal Mall into an open air, storefront retail space with residential apartments above in five new structures. The tallest building will be approximately 130 feet high residential tower, while the other buildings will be between 5-6 stories high.
Like the surrounding complex, Building F serves multiple uses. It has 45,000 SF of retail space on the ground level which is currently a Roche Brother’s supermarket. Above that are three floors of parking, over which are an additional three levels of residential space.
The three floors of loft-style apartments, feature studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom options and include access to a roof top deck and courtyard. The building utilizes different materials for residential, retail and parking spaces and features two separate staircases. One is designed for shoppers, while the other is for residents.
The dis-similar materials reflect the varied activities within the structure. Precast spandrel panels surround the parking levels above the grocery store on the ground floor. The precast concrete features formliner patterns and reveals that create an undulating motion across the façade. The effect contrasts the white spandrels against the dark brown brick on upper and lower levels and accentuates the building step back.
A unique basket weave pattern was cast into the precast concrete panels to meet the Architect’s intent to mimic a shallow ripple effect. The shop drawing process began in November of 2018 and through extensive coordination between Strescon, Prellwitz Chilinski Associates and Cranshaw Construction, Strescon was able to provide a one of a kind spandrel.
Phasing the many construction projects within Arsenal Yards was one of the most complicated aspects of the development. Determining how and when each individual building would fit into the overall schedule was challenging. Existing retailers wanted to remain open during construction, so the site had to be accessible and safe to the public amid the congested site.
Strescon coordinated the delivery of precast concrete panels for the parking levels with the general contractor to arrive in a timely fashion. That collaboration minimized the impact to the active site and avoided impacts to the existing structures and limited lay down area.
Strescon produced 97 architectural precast spandrel panels that serve as an architectural feature and a structural enclosure for all 4 elevations of the parking portion of the building only.
Despite delays due to Covid restrictions the precast concrete panels were delivered by Sunbury Transport Ltd. and installed by American Steel and Precast Erectors in March 2020. The panels took 2-1/2 weeks to install allowing other trades to follow behind.
In addition to the precast concrete manufactured for this multi-use building, Garage B was constructed as a standalone total precast solution on the far side of the complex.
B and B
The new rental apartments at 485 Arsenal Street are called Blvd & Bond and include 45 affordable units. The apartments at Blvd & Bond are spread across three residential buildings located in the heart of Arsenal Yards. Ultimately, the rental units and the walkable community will draw in young tenants who desire the amenities as well as access to the park, river front, bike paths and public transportation.
Arsenal Yards is just one of many examples across New England of architectural precast spandrels featured in mixed-use projects. Architectural precast is a favorite choice among many design firms for its ability to take on different façade treatments and colors at a competitive price to other building materials.