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Tocci Building completes topping off of Kendall East for Urban Spaces – a two-building, mixed-use development

The New England Real Estate Journal | August 7, 2020

Cambridge, MA Tocci Building Corp. and client Urban Spaces completed the topping off of Kendall East. Designed by architectural firm Perkins Eastman, this two-building, mixed-use development will feature 211,000 s/f of both residential units and retail space. The project program includes 136 residential units, an expansive half-acre greenspace connecting the two buildings, and two levels of below-grade parking including 142 parking spaces and 159 bicycle spaces.

The work leading to this milestone event involved the demolition of several connected commercial buildings, two stories of below-grade excavation, the pouring of concrete foundations and, like many development projects in the area, navigating through the construction moratorium and other challenges related to COVID-19.

This milestone marks the completion of the structural steel phase of the building and serves to recognize the trade contractors for their work thus far. While a proper topping off ceremony was not feasible due to social distancing regulations, the team was thanked with lunch and words of encouragement from Tocci’s assistant superintendent, Nick Tierney.

Adding to the spirit and goodwill of the occasion, Bill Welch, the superintendent at Tocci Building said, “After a few uncertain weeks at the onset of COVID-19 and obtaining approvals from the city of Cambridge to allow us to temporarily continue construction, the team at Kendall East worked hard and kept it together to accomplish this major milestone.”

Paul Ognibene, founder and CEO of Urban Spaces, the developer of Kendall East, said, “We’re very appreciative of all the trades’ and the entire construction team’s efforts to operate successfully in today’s challenging workplace environment. The mutual respect between Tocci and Urban Spaces bodes well, not only for the future of this project, but for others we hope to do together in the future.”
Two top concerns on any jobsite are safety and schedule. Despite the pandemic, the team has worked to maintain a safe construction environment, thanks in large part to safety director Tim Lyons’s COVID-19 Safety Plan. Tocci is also working with consultants and construction pre-fabrication experts to regain lost time.

Next steps for the project include placing slabs, starting wall framing and getting the building envelope water-tight for interior MEPs and finishes. Construction is expected to wrap up in 2021.