PAUL OGNIBENE – SHAPING A NEW CAMBRIDGE

Paul Ognibene

Paul Ognibene serves as the chief executive officer and founding principal of Urban Spaces. In his role, Ognibene is responsible for setting the vision for the future of the company. He oversees everything from client relationships to contract negotiations, as well as multi-million-dollar budgets of the company’s projects. Under the leadership of Paul Ognibene, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Urban Spaces has grown into an award-winning real estate development company by focusing on enhancing and transforming the communities in which it works.

Paul Ognibene and his team work to identify communities with potential for growth, analyzing Boston-area economies and examining factors such as proximity to public transportation, ample job opportunities, and strong educational systems within a community. These are key requirements for potential development sites for Urban Spaces. Once such a community is identified, the team considers a host of factors before land or property is purchased, ranging from construction costs to market rent or sales projections, in order to determine if a project is economically viable.

One of the best examples of the analytical work by Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces can be seen in Cambridge, home to Urban Spaces’s headquarters.  Over a five-year period, Ognibene and his team acquired 10 underperforming adjoining parcels along the First Street Corridor, a mixed-use neighborhood in Cambridge located within minutes of MIT and the MBTA Kendall Square and Lechmere stations.  This assemblage of land parcels is directly across the street from CambridgeSide, the mall now being transformed into a 1.2 million square foot mixed-use facility. Paul Ognibene and the company then began transforming this conglomeration of surface parking lots, light industrial buildings, windowless warehouses, and tired retail into 250,000 square feet of apartments, office, retail, and green space.

The first of these First Street Corridor projects was Axiom, a six-story structure comprised of 115 apartment units and home to a 3,800 SF the locally renowned Toscanini’s Ice Cream. Following on Axiom, Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces completed 121 First Street, a 60,000 SF, five-story building featuring 7,000  SF of ground-level retail and 53,000 SF of Class A office space, now home to CarGurus, the online automotive marketplace, and also serves as Urban Spaces’s new headquarters.  Subsequently, Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces developed 85 First Street, a 10,000 square foot retail building that is now home to Loyal Companion, a nationwide pet supply store, Sherwin-Williams, and the US Post Office.  Ognibene and Urban Spaces are now constructing Kendall East, a mixed-use residential/retail property comprised of 136 apartments, 15,000 SF of retail, a two-level 142 space parking garage, and an expansive community green space.

When completed, Urban Spaces’s work within the First Street Corridor will include over 250 residential units, 51,500 SF of office space, 40,000 SF of retail, and 250 parking spaces.  These developments will help to meet the demand for housing, office, and retail space in East Cambridge, widely regarded as the epicenter of the Life Science industry. 

To learn more about Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces, please visit PaulOgnibene.net.  This site will not only provide information about the background and experience of Paul Ognibene, but it will also provide occasional blog posts with tips and insights on how to be a better CEO in today’s ever-evolving corporate climate.  Be sure to look for The Urban Blog, an interactive presentation forum begun by Paul Ognibene to share viewpoints and ideas about real estate development.

Paul Ognibene Discusses How Cambridge is Committed to COVID-19 Relief Effort

Paul Ognibene

Massachusetts has been making great strides to help its citizens during the turbulent times of the COVID-19 crisis. Paul Ognibene notes that on a local level, Cambridge has been showing its strength by assisting in various ways.  Paul Ognibene, CEO of Cambridge-based Urban Spaces, describes just a few ways that the Cambridge community has been showing its commitment to providing COVID-19 relief efforts for those that need it most.

Cambridge Launches Relief Funds

In the same way that the state has offered an emergency relief fund (COVID-19 Relief Fund), the city of Cambridge has established the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, a $3+ million emergency assistance fund for residents experiencing financial hardship. 

In addition, many Cambridge community members have already stepped up in various ways, including donating to the Cambridge Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund which provides grants between $200 and $1,000.    

The city of Cambridge has also postponed property tax payments for 60 days to help relieve cash flow pressure on homeowners and businesses. 

Harvard Provides Resources

Harvard’s 19 teaching hospitals are providing front-line care as well as working on vaccines and treatment options. 

Harvard Medical School has also launched the COVID-19 Health Literacy Project which provides health-related information in over 35 languages to ensure that members of the community who do not speak English can be kept well informed.

In addition, Harvard has offered space on campus to assist in health care operations. Harvard has also opened up its Harvard Square Hotel for use by Cambridge Health Alliance workers and other first responders who often need to remain close to their posts. 

Paul Ognibene Discusses Reasoning for Cambridge Massachusetts’ Continued Housing Boom

Paul Ognibene Urban Spaces

Paul Ognibene, CEO of Urban Spaces LLC in Cambridge, has been a leader in the real-estate development front for years. Much of Paul Ognibene’s success can be attributed to him holding the business acumen and real-estate expertise to help usher in a new era of housing and business development in the greater Cambridge area. Still, Ognibene notes that much of his continued ability to keep up with demands and shifts of the real-estate industry stem from his intimate understanding of the role that location plays in establishing what housing markets prove themselves to be premier places to purchase homes and retail spaces. In this article, Paul Ognibene hopes to shed some light on factors that have kept Cambridge Massachusetts a booming real-estate market.

Proximity to Harvard and MIT: The fact that Cambridge Massachusetts is the home of esteemed universities Harvard and MIT indubitably serves as a reason that housing is so sought after in the area. The universities attract a wide variety of students, many of which require housing in the area. The universities also employ many workers and educators that similarly must find housing in, or near, the greater Cambridge metro-area

Technological Innovation Hub: In part due to Cambridge’s proximity to esteemed universities, Cambridge is seen as a hub for some of the United States’ sharpest minds and technological innovators. Specifically, Cambridge is home to many biochemists and biophysicists, attracting those interested in the industry in droves. In fact, 10.4% of workers in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Massachusetts area work within STEM fields, compared to the US’s national average of 6.2 percent. Paul Ognibene notes that, with a median income of close to $90K, these technological innovators that need suitable living arrangements within the area and often have enough capital to traverse the competitive real-estate market

Paul Ognibene Recounts 2018 Summer Project at 121 First Street

Paul Ognibene, the CEO and founder of Urban Spaces, strives to be hands on with every project the company begins. Paul is usually involved with everything from the oversight of the original site selection to the final product. While this is certainly requires a large amount of flexibility, it’s also extremely rewarding to look back at an area and see the impact a new building makes on the community. This is certainly the case with 121 First Street in Cambridge, MA, which was completed in the summer of 2018.

If you scroll all the way to the bottom of this blog post, you can see the incredible transformation. The property was previously a Big John’s Mattress factory outlet. While it was an important building in the past, it was no longer a functional building that met the needs of a growing section of town. Paul Ognibene CEO discovered the area and marked it as an opportunity to improve a neighborhood and fill a need for office and retail space.

For the project at 121 First Street, Paul Ognibene tasked Perkins Eastman as the architect and Nauset Construction as the contractor. Paul Ognibene was able to identify a glaring need for office and retail space in this portion of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The area is blossoming as Cambridge’s technology and life sciences hub has continued to evolve. As more businesses move into the area, more people needed a link between Kendall Square and Lechmere Station. The new 60,000 SF, five-story building features 51,500 square feet of Class A office space and 6,700 square feet of retail space.

This 2018 summer project was the second of six mixed-use development projects by Urban Spaces. The building immediately had many suitors and was preleased months before it was completed to Car Gurus as the online automotive research platform and marketplace looked to garner a presence in this emerging area of Massachusetts. Like most of the projects completed by Urban Spaces, the new construction has brought a boost to the local economy with jobs created and new employees who are moving closer to their new workplace.

To read more about incredible projects like these from Urban Spaces, please visit UrbanSpacesLLC.com. If you are interested in the incredible transformation that happened on 121 First Street, check out the images below:

Before:

Paul Ognibene CEO of Urban Spaces at run down building on 121 First Street

After:

Paul Ognibene at new construction on 121 First Street

Paul Ognibene Recaps Some Recent Projects

Paul Ognibene

As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Spaces, Paul Ognibene oversees everything from client relationships to contract negotiations and multi-million-dollar project budgets. Paul Ognibene is committed to driving the company forward through outstanding work that helps the communities where Urban Spaces develops property. To provide some insight into the impact Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces is having, Ognibene provides an overview of some recent projects below.

85-95 First Street, Cambridge, MA – Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces identified this location as the perfect spot for development as an older building with 42 parking spaces hardly being utilized by retail stores. Urban Spaces developed a single-story, 10,000 retail space with 11 adjacent surface parking spaces. Three retail tenants will call this location home and demand to move-in is high with Loyal Companion, a pet supply retailer, already signed up.

121 First Street, Cambridge, MA – Formerly the site of Big John’s Mattress Factory and surface parking lots, the new 60,000 square foot, five-story building was completed in the summer of 2018. The location across the street from CambridgeSide and minutes away from MIT was in desperate need of office and retail space.

159 First Street, Cambridge, MA – Axiom was constructed before the 121 First Street project, and the excitement surrounding the area is what led to this beautiful six-story, transit-oriented, mixed-use building apartment space. The complex offers an incredible number of amenities, including a 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness center; a landscaped courtyard with a grilling station, an outdoor fireplace lounge, and café seating.

1047 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA – 1047 Commonwealth is a crowning achievement for Paul Ognibene and Urban Spaces. It was the first all micro-unit building constructed in Boston, and the largest micro-unit building in the United States at the time of construction. It was originally created to address the affordable housing issues of Boston graduate students and young professionals. Now, the building is utilized as student housing. The 90,000 square foot building was constructed by adding four additional floors to an existing two-story building. 2,900 square feet of retail is currently being leased to Caffe Nero. The prime location puts all residents in the heart of a neighborhood with plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options.

To read more about incredible projects like these from Urban Spaces, please visit UrbanSpacesLLC.com

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