Continuum, a residential and retail complex built on Harvard-owned land in Allston, has leased all its residential space and reached full capacity—a milestone employees attribute in part to community building efforts.
Leslie Cohen, principal and chief operations officer at Samuels & Associates, the firm Harvard chose to develop Continuum in 2012, wrote in an emailed statement Thursday that Continuum’s residential spaces are currently “fully occupied.”
“Interest in leasing at Continuum was strong throughout 2016 and 2017,” Cohen wrote. “Other than the usual online presence, word of mouth has been the largest driver of the building’s occupancy.”
Continuum, located at the intersection of Western Ave. and North Harvard St., comprises 325 residential units, including studios and one-bedroom apartments. In the past, Continuum has struggled to fill its residential spaces. In Oct. 2015, 23 percent of the housing units had been leased to residents. In Feb. 2016, the number rose to 40 percent.
Cohen wrote that plans for Continuum going forward include a strong retail component to “enliven the street” and facilitate “a vibrant streetscape” with a diverse array of retail stores, offices, and housing. As of March, the building has leased 89 percent of its retail space to stores like Trader Joe’s and Our Fathers.
Cohen also noted that Continuum has begun holding block parties, featuring items like a petting zoo and free ice cream, to promote a sense of community.
“Community is the cornerstone of every decision we make,” she wrote. “Allstonians have been vocal in expressing what they feel would best serve the neighborhood. This has been invaluable input.”
When Continuum first began leasing units in 2015, the average rent of an apartment in Boston was $2,100, around $200 less than the price of a studio apartment in Continuum.
To promote affordable housing, Continuum held a lottery in Jan. 2016 offering cheaper housing units in the complex and selected 42 people out of a pool of 386.
—Staff writer Truelian Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @truelian_lee.—Staff writer Jacqueline P. Patel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @jppatel99.