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 If you are interested in the incredible transformation that happened on 121 First Street, check out the images below:


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


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