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Weiss: New upscale rental project is latest step forward for Somerville

Posted On 3/12/2018

The Cobalt, a 117-unit apartment community in downtown Somerville — Courtesy: Minno & Wasko

By Joshua Burd

Robert Weiss had owned the site for some 20 years. But it was only recently that he could tap into the potential of a property that is steps from both a commuter train station and downtown Somerville.

The turning point came when local leaders became interested in attracting new residents to their central business district, Weiss said. Officials then moved about four years ago to rezone the parcel on Veterans Memorial Drive from commercial to residential, allowing the developer to justify the cost of remediating and redeveloping the property.

“This is something that they really wanted to see happen and they really helped with the process,” said Weiss, president of Weiss Properties. “And whenever you have a town or a borough helping a developer with the process, you know that this is something that everybody wants. So it was really their vision of bringing housing and apartments to the center of town, and I think it’s paid off tremendously.”

That was all too clear last summer when Weiss Properties opened The Cobalt, its new 117-unit high-end apartment building at the site. The four-story property has revitalized a long-vacant, formerly contaminated site just a block from Main Street — which housed a junk yard and metal fabrication facility — offering a new living option for a town that is primed to tap into the market for walkable, transit-centric destinations.

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