Cities across the country are becoming increasingly lousy with LEED-certified luxury apartment developments and, more than not, these building’s “luxurious” bells and whistles are splashed front and center while the green specs take a back seat in the marketing department. Because really, while EV charging and triple-pane windows are fine and all, at the end of the day it’s the amenities that really sell a property.
The development team behind The Wyeth, a soon-to-open LEED Platinum-targeting development in Cambridge, Mass. — one of the first LEED Platinum apartment buildings in all of Cambridge and greater Boston, apparently — is aiming to buck that trend by throwing around the “L” word a fair amount but also placing a greater amount of attention on the building’s myriad sustainable attributes and, most importantly, homegrown partnerships and community-building efforts.
Explains Dana Nielsen, a principal at developer Broder Properties, in a recent press release:
The Wyeth isn’t just a place to live. The Wyeth is a fully engaged and supportive member of society and we are committed to supporting local business and both traditional and online community groups. Anyone can use social media to talk about how great they are. We wanted to highlight the work of all of the great businesses and community groups in our new neighborhood.
Located in the bustling Porter Square neighborhood (for those who instantly became intimate with Cambridge geography in the days following the Boston Marathon bombings, it’s an area north of Harvard near Somerville’s Tufts student-heavy Davis Square), The Wyeth does boast high montly rents ($3,300 to $3,500 for a one bedroom ranging between 682 and 775-square-feet with two-bedrooms balcony units topping off at $5,400) along with “luxury” amenities such as private parking, a gym, outdoor grilling stations, a concierge service, and the aforementioned “premium” Cambridge location.
However, it’s the $9 million, 44-unit complex’s commitment to sustainable building practices where things start to look a bit different.
The building itself is actually an adaptive reuse project. A little under two years ago, Broder Properties took over developer Joseph Perroncello's troubled Cambridge Crossing project after a six-year "nightmare of mess and rats," stop-start development, and eventual bankruptcy at the 2.5-acre site of a former Catholic school on Rindge Ave.
In creating The Wyeth, careful attention was paid to the salvaging of any existing building elements with a whopping 88 percent of landfill-bound building materials being recycled (Cambridge-based nonprofit GreenGoat assisted with this aspect). What’s more, 330 of the existing building’s windows were donated to recover and rebuilding efforts in Haiti.
The laundry list of new eco-friendly features is impressive: The individual units boast triple-glazed windows, recycled stone countertops, and energy-efficient HVAC systems with energy recover ventilators while the entire property itself sports a 33,000 gallon rainwater cistern and drought resistant landscaping along with the use of a specially developed spray insulation and low/zero-VOC paints and finishes throughout. And although The Wyeth is a quick 10-minute stroll to the Porter Square T station (the Walkscore is a “very walkable” 89), there’s also a free on-site bike share program available to residents and their guests. Both the exterior and interior renderings are some of the bike-heaviest I've ever seen. 

As mentioned, an abudant amount of private parking spots also play into the development. It's a necessary — and luxurious, I suppose — evil made better by the fact that one of The Wyeth’s key vendor partners is Juice Bar, a Cambridge-based free EV charging service. The building’s other partners are similarly green-minded and locally owned: Boston Organics produce delivery, Bush Quality Cleaners nontoxic laundry service, and Cambridge Critter Sitter dog walking and pet sitting. 

With a grand opening and occupancy date of September, a little more than half of The Wyeth has already been leased (including all of the three- and four-bedroom units). Open houses are held on Sundays and if you can’t make it in person, head on over to The Wyeth homepage for a virtual walk-through.

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The Wyeth: A LEED luxury development with the right amount of crunch
In a refreshing departure from the norm, the developers of a LEED luxury development in Cambridge focus on amenities and sustainability with equal measure.