Paul Ognibene Cohasset

Proposed Improvements to the Charlestown Navy Yard

As a real estate professional working within Boston, Cambridge, and the surrounding area, Paul Ognibene of Cohasset stays up to date on some of the most pressing challenges of real estate development. One topic of conversation has been the idea of replacing the deteriorating Pier 5 at the Charlestown Navy Yard with housing and public amenities. Paul Ognibene and his team’s proposed solution was unique in that regard. The proposal was to create a floating residential community consisting of liveaboard vessels (LVs) that looked and felt more like nautically-inspired houses. The new LVs are accessed from a newly-constructed pier which doubles as a pedestrian walkway and utility chase for fresh water, sewer, electric, and natural gas services.

Paul Ognibene of Cohasset and his team recognize the growing interest in water-based housing and is exploring other locations to utilize the same water-based housing concept.

Paul Ognibene Cohasset


(Final Phase of Salem Condominium Building)

Paul Ognibene, the CEO of the Cambridge-based development company, Urban Spaces and the developer of BRIX – the new condominium building nearing completion in downtown Salem – has announced the release of the final phase of units to the public.  Dubbed THE GALLERY COLLECTION, these five units provide a floor plan and other features that are unique in comparison to most condominium offerings, both at BRIX and elsewhere.  The six-story, 61-unit building is currently more than 85% sold, with buyers anticipating a late summer occupancy.

“One of the most notable aspects of the units comprising THE GALLERY COLLECTON is the floor plan,” noted Paul Ognibene.  “Our architects have realized their vision of a two-bedroom condominium that feels more like a house than an apartment.”  Unlike most residential units which have layoutsthat can be perceived immediately upon entering, THE GALLERY COLLECTION model unit provides guests with a sense of sophistication in the form of an in-house art gallery, an inviting fireplace, and an ample, meandering floor plan.  “It’s definitely worth a visit,” noted Paul Ognibene.

The “public” areas, i.e., the kitchens and dining/living areas of THE GALLERY COLLECTION, face southeast and, consequently, are awash in sunlight from morning through afternoon.  The “private” bedroom areas have been designed to accommodate two master bedroom suites, if desired.  

“We’ve saved the best for last,” noted Paul Ognibene.  “THE GALLERY COLLECTION has been staged to fully underscore and enhance our architect’s vision of an urban condominium that feels more like a house than an apartment.”

Giving credit to some key team members, Paul Ognibene continued, “The staging of THE GALLERY COLLECTION fell within the purview of Betsy Merry of Salem’s Merry/Fox Realty which, along with Boston-based Charlesgate Realty Group, is marketing the project.  Merry stated, “Betsy Konaxis of BK Classic Collections Home Stagers did a fabulous job furnishing THE GALLERY COLLECTION model, one of BRIX’s most unique condominium offerings.”

Appointments to tour THE GALLERY COLLECTION can be made by visiting or calling (888) 900-9106.

Paul Ognibene Cohasset


Paul Ognibene, BRIX, and Breaking Records

BRIX, a new 61-unit condominium building in historic Salem is being developed by Paul Ognibene and his Cambridge-based company, Urban Spaces.  This 61-unit multifamily building, first visualized by Paul Ognibene several years ago, has reached a pricing milestone for a multifamily condominium building.

“For the first time in the history of this municipal treasure,” noted Paul Ognibene, “Salem will record no fewer than three condominium sales in excess of one-million dollars.”  This achievement is likely a pricing record for other North Shore communities as well, and it underscores the contention of Paul Ognibene that multifamily condominiums in suburban cities and towns are alive and well.

“This doesn’t just happen,” allowed Betsy Merry of Merry Fox Realty of Salem, a joint venture partner on the marketing of BRIX with Boston-based Charlesgate Realty Group, “In addition to a top-shelf location and product, buyers willing to make a commitment of this magnitude during construction need to have confidence in the development ream and their track record of delivering on their promises.  With Paul Ognibene leading the team, that isn’t an issue at BRIX.

All of the million-dollar condominium homes share certain features and attributes.  The panoramic views in every direction overlook the historic downtown and period rooftops towards the protected harbor and the open ocean.  “The units themselves are large,” said Paul Ognibene, “but designed for a more efficient, pedestrian lifestyle that is quite different from the larger homes they’re leaving.  Fireplaces, special finishes, and some custom touches completed the offering. 

According to Paul Ognibene, BRIX is already over 80% sold out after only a few months of being introduced to the market.  While many units are well under the million-dollar mark, the same trust in the developer’s experience, perhaps as much as any pent-up demand for a great location, continues to evidence itself as construction continues towards a Labor Day 2021 completion date.

Paul Ognibene Cohasset


80% Of Condominiums Sold Prior to Completion

Although real or imagined, the flight from the City of Boston due to Covid has become speculation fodder for Paul Ognibene and every developer currently considering a multifamily development beyond Boston’s city limits.  Certainly, examples abound of single-family home developments flourishing in the suburbs surrounding Boston.  However, speculation continues regarding current and post-Covid market trends for more dense developments in suburban cities and towns.  Paul Ognibene believes we have the answer to this important, remaining question:

What is the market for a new multifamily building developed in a suburban downtown location?

*      *      *

Paul Ognibene, the CEO of Urban Spaces, the development company in joint with Diamond Sinacori, is pleased to announce that BRIX, a new 61-unit condominium building under construction in downtown Salem, has already sold 80% of the units prior to its expected completion in late summer 2021.

Of particular note, Paul Ognibene continued, this has occurred after a pre-completion marketing launch two weeks before Christmas and in the face of a raging pandemic.  Working with Boston-based marketers, Charlesgate Realty Group (“CRG”) and local Salem brokers, Merry Fox Realty (“MFR”), the combined efforts of both companies may be the clarion call for additional multifamily development in Boston’s suburbs.

“We’re proud of our product,” said Paul Ognibene, “but having a great marketing team for BRIX makes everyone’s job easier.” 

BRIX is the first new multifamily condominium building in this vibrant, historic and rapidly burgeoning municipality that is just a short train ride from downtown Boston.  While offering another living option for a target market of North Shore “empty nesters” and young professionals from Boston and surrounding communities, BRIX is located in the middle of a wealth of pedestrian-friendly shops, services, eateries, and cultural amenities. 

“We love Salem and have enjoyed playing a role in helping one of America’s municipal treasures expand in a manner that bridges its proud architectural heritage with the promise and demands of our own time,“ commented Paul Ognibene, the CEO and founder of JV partner, Urban Spaces. 

“We feel privileged to work in what we still consider to be the “hidden jewel” of the many places to live around Boston,” continued Paul Ognibene.

*      *     *

Notwithstanding the fact that timing and location will always govern the real estate market, Paul Ognibene feels confident that we’re nearing a definitive answer to the question at hand:

The multifamily real estate market is alive and well in the downtowns of Suburban Boston.


Paul Ognibene Cohasset

Pictured above is BRIX, a new 61-unit condominium building under        construction in downtown Salem, MA.  Occupancy is scheduled for

late summer of 2021.

Paul Ognibene Cohasset

Paul Ognibene / Urban Spaces Sign First Lease at New East Cambridge Mixed-Use Development

CAMBRIDGE, MA–Paul Ognibene, the CEO of the Cambridge-based real estate development company Urban Spaces, has signed pet supply retailer, Loyal Companion to a 4,000 SF lease at 95 First Street in East Cambridge. The store is latest retail tenant signed to the First Street Corridor, a $275 million mixed-use project conceived by Paul Ognibene.  The project is designed to reinvigorate the neighborhood that connects Lechmere Station and Kendall Square.

Loyal Companion is an ideal fit for the retail mix we’re assembling for the commercial and residential tenants of the First Street Corridor, as well as the larger East Cambridge multifamily market,” noted Paul Ognibene. “The Conviser Group, which handles the leasing of our 45,000 square feet of retail space along the First Street Corridor, is helping us to develop the appropriate blend of retailers and restaurants to best serve the needs of the community.

“Loyal Companion will be meeting the demand for pet supplies and services after the closing of Petco,” continued Paul Ognibene.  Petco decided to not renew their lease at 119 First Street following passage by the Cambridge City Council of an ordinance prohibiting the retail sale of commercially bred animals.  “Loyal Companion offers high-quality food and supplies, as well as on-premise grooming, training, daycare, and self-wash,” according to Paul Ognibene.

Paul Ognibene tapped architectural firm Perkins Eastman to design 95 First Street.  A single-story 10,000 SF retail building, it is located just a short walk from Cambridge Crossing. The First Street Corridor is located across from CambridgeSide, and upon completion will be comprised of over 250 apartments, 50,000 SF of office, 45,000 SF of retail space, as well as a 23,000 SF open-air park.

“There’s an incredible amount of unique, multi-family growth in East Cambridge,” said Jeff David, CEO of Independent Pet Partners (parent company of Loyal Companion). “First Street Corridor is in the heart of the community. That’s where we like to be because pets are the heart of the community too. This mixed-use project by Paul Ognibene allows us to provide the highest quality food, supplies and services that prolong the life of the pet and help make the community a happier place overall.”

Paul Ognibene Cohasset

Paul Ognibene of Cohasset / Urban Spaces Pre-Leases 50,000 SF to CarGurus at 121 First St Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE–Paul Ognibene of Cohasset, the CEO of Cambridge-based real estate company Urban Spaces, has announced that 100% of the office component of 121 First Street in East Cambridge/Kendall Square has been leased to CarGurus, a leading global online automotive marketplace.

121 First is a mixed-use development comprised of 50,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail.  It is typical of the work of Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces that focuses on development projects in growing neighborhoods that are in close proximity to public transportation, universities, and employment hubs.

“When we decided to develop this building on spec, we knew there would be strong tenant demand for office space along the First Street Corridor, given its location within walking distance to both the MBTA’s Red Line / Kendall and the Green Line / Lechmere stops,” said Paul Ognibene.  “We’re delighted to have attracted such a strong tech tenant like CarGurus and look forward to hosting their operations in the years to come.”

Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces selected the global architectural firm, Perkins Eastman, to design the project and tapped Nauset Construction to build it.  121 First is an integral component of the First Street Corridor and will add vitality to the burgeoning neighborhood. The First Street Corridor is situated across from CambridgeSide (the former Cambridgeside Galleria) and between the MBTA’s Red Line Kendall Square and Green Line Lechmere stations. 121 First is a key component of a $200 million development by Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces which, when completed, will include approximately 250 apartments, 50,000 SF of office space, 50,000 SF of retail, and 250 parking spaces, as well as a half-acre open-air green space.

Founded in Cambridge in 2006, CarGurus has grown to become the largest automotive shopping site in the U.S. based on monthly unique visitor traffic (ComScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform, March 2018). The company employs more than 650 people globally, including approximately 540 employees located at its Cambridge locations.  “We’re delighted that we could accommodate such an innovative company.  It’s another great addition to the re-birth of the First Street Corridor,” noted Paul Ognibene of his new tenant.

“Paul Ognibene of Cohasset and the Urban Spaces team have done an excellent job assembling, conceiving, and delivering a development that is helping to transform the First Street Corridor in East Cambridge, as well as expanding the inventory in a supply-starved market,” said JLL Managing Director Peter Bekarian, whose team represented Urban Spaces in leasing the space. “The level of interest we had from numerous tech and life science companies further continues a long trend of innovative companies choosing to locate and remain in East Cambridge.”

CarGurus was represented by Nat Kessler and Adam Brinch of CBRE.

Paul Ognibene Cohasset

Paul Ognibene / Urban Spaces Lead Renaissance of First Street Corridor

Paul Ognibene of Cohasset shows latest demolition along ‘First Street Corridor’ highlights massive East Cambridge changes.

Paul Ognibene, the CEO of Cambridge-based real estate development company Urban Spaces, began tearing down his own former headquarters Monday to make room for its latest project along First Street in East Cambridge – a 136-unit, two-building apartment complex with 14,800 square feet of retail at its base. 

The project, called Kendall East, is set to begin construction in April 2019 and be ready for renters in 2021 on parcels at 99-119 First St., 18 Hurley St. and 29 Charles St. The First Street location was a Petco and its parking lot, but now will be pet-friendly apartments, according to Paul Ognibene. The two buildings will share a two-level underground garage with 142 parking and 159 bicycle spaces beneath a half-acre green space; another 23 surface parking spaces will be used for whatever retail moves in.

“There will be four-story and six-story buildings in the complex, a mix of studios and apartments with one, two and three bedrooms,” continued Paul Ognibene.

“With office and lab space in Kendall Square and the First Street Corridor nearly at full occupancy and Cambridge Crossing signing leases with Sanofi and Phillips for over 1 million square feet, the demand for apartments in East Cambridge has never been greater,” said Paul Ognibene, chief executive of Urban Spaces.

Paul Ognibene of Cohasset and Urban Spaces have been remaking the one-mile “First Street Corridor” between the Lechmere MBTA station and Kendall Square since March 2017, a four-parcel, $275 million project it expects will add 53,000 square feet of office space, 50,000 square feet of retail, 250 parking spaces and more than 250 housing units, and a 23,000 square foot green space.

Paul Ognibene Cohasset

Paul Ognibene / Urban Spaces Set to Break Ground on Kendall East Mixed-Use Apartment Complex

Cambridge, MA – Paul Ognibene, the CEO of  Urban Spaces, a Cambridge-based commercial real estate development company that focuses on mid-sized, transit-oriented projects, has announced the start of demolition next week on its former headquarters to make way for Kendall East, a mixed-use apartment complex comprised of 136 units and 14,800 square feet of retail.

The site, as described by developer Paul Ognibene, encompasses 99-119 First Street, 18 Hurley Street, and 29 Charles Street, is located across from CambridgeSide, a mixed-use one million square foot shopping center, located within a short walking distance to Kendall Square, Lechmere Station, and Cambridge Crossing.

Designed by award-winning architectural firm Perkins Eastman, Kendall East is set to begin demolition next week and begin construction of the new buildings in April. Paul Ognibene noted that the larger of the two pet-friendly buildings in the complex will include 118 luxury apartments above 14,800 square feet of ground floor retail and 23 surface parking spaces to support retail.

This parcel was once home to interconnected office and retail buildings (including the Urban Spaces headquarters and Petco). An additional 18 residential units will be built on the adjacent parcel. The two buildings will share a two-level underground garage with 142 parking and 159 bicycle spaces that will be built underneath a half acre open air green space. Of particular interest, and in keeping with the other work of Urban Spaces that enhances the areas beyond the bounds of their project sites, Paul Ognibene noted that the space will include a bike and pedestrian path that will connect Charles and Hurley Street. Construction is expected to be completed in 2020.

“With office and lab space in Kendall Square and the First Street Corridor nearly at full occupancy and Cambridge Crossing signing leases with Sanofi and Phillips for over a million square feet, the demand for luxury apartments in East Cambridge has never been greater,” said Paul Ognibene.  “In addition to the housing and neighborhood retail, Kendall East will be providing beautiful green space to the evolving First Street Corridor.”

The complex will be comprised of a four-story and a six-story wood frame building constructed over steel and concrete podium. The 136 apartments will be a mix of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom units, with 16 designated as affordable. According to Paul Ognibene, Apartment rental service Zumper’s Boston Metro Report for January 2019 rated Cambridge as the most expensive Massachusetts city to rent in, affirming the high demand of the Cambridge rental market.

Kendall East is an integral component of the First Street Corridor, a $275 million development that is adding much-needed vitality to the approximately one mile stretch between the Lechmere MBTA station and Kendall Square – the heart of the Cambridge life science and technology hub – with a blend of residential, retail, office, and open space. Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces are generally credited with initiating this effort which, when completed, the development will add 53,000 square feet of office space, 50,000 square feet of retail, 250 parking spaces, and over 250 housing units to supply-constrained East Cambridge.

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Urban Spaces is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based real estate development company that creates residential and commercial buildings in close proximity to public transportation, universities, and employment hubs.  Founded in 2004 by CEO Paul Ognibene, Urban Spaces has earned a regional reputation for award-winning developments that revitalize and enhance emerging and well-established neighborhoods.  The company has a broad range of experience, including new construction, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation in both the private and public sectors.  In addition to being an innovator, Urban Spaces has been influential in forecasting and advancing many of the important urban trends that we see today, such as micro-units, modular construction, and environmentally resilient design.  Urban Spaces continues to make important contributions to enhance the urban fabric of its host communities.