2020 In Review: Looking Back on an Unprecedented Year01.04.21
Even though the end of the year doesn’t mean the end of COVID-19, it feels good to put 2020 in the rearview mirror and look ahead with hope to the future. And while 2020 was often strange, frustrating, tiresome, and not quite like we planned, as we reflect, we see so many things to celebrate and people to be thankful for. We’re amazed at what our team, our partners, and what the greater community was able to come together and do when faced with the challenges of this year.
Here’s a look at our year in review – a handful of our favorite memories and greatest achievements as we begin 2021:
Celebrated construction milestones at six parcels
During this past spring’s construction moratorium, activity at the site ceased for 77 days, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of tower cranes (7 currently) or the amount of progress workers have made since resuming operations.
In the public realm, a newly renovated Common and two new open spaces – the Picnic Grove (complete with a bocce court, picnic tables, fixed grills, and a pretty cool OpenGym locker) and Maria Baldwin Park – have been brought online.
Finally, we’ve celebrated steel completion at four state-of-the-art buildings:
/ 181 Morgan Avenue, a 20,000 SF office & retail building designed by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates and built by Shawmut Design and Construction, adjacent to the soon-to-be, brand-new Lechmere Green Line Station.
/ 350 Water Street, a 501,000 SF life science building and future home of Sanofi’s scientific operations, designed by Perkins + Will and built by John Moriarty and Associates.
/ 450 Water Street, a 405,000 SF technology building and future home of Sanofi’s office functions, designed by NBBJ and built by Consigli Construction
Welcomed our first tenants to the neighborhood
In January, the Philips bus first pulled up to 222 Jacobs Street (a WiredScore Platinum and LEED Gold certified office / laboratory building), delivering employees to their newly constructed, 430,000 SF North American Innovation Center. Also inside, Cerevel Therapeutics is completing the buildout of their new space with plans to occupy in the coming weeks.
At 100 North First Street, the south building of The Shed, Chef Will Gilson and his team have opened two of their three restaurant concepts. Café Beatrice, an all-day café featuring inventive, seasonally inspired sweet and savory baked goods from award-winning Pastry Chef Brian Mercury began service in October, and The Lexington – an American brasserie and cocktail bar with a rooftop terrace overlooking The Common – followed closely behind in November.
Connected with our community in new ways
Like many others, we had to re-think how we could nourish relationships with our loved ones, coworkers and neighbors without the ability to gather in person the way we normally would. In order to bring #CXTogether in 2020, we had to be vulnerable, experiment with different programs and platforms, and trust our partners to lead us into this new, mostly virtual frontier.
Together with you, we rocked out at our first virtual CX Summer Nights concert featuring local bands Will Dailey and GA-20 and learned a thing or two about Parks in Pop Culture from our online trivia night with the Charles River Conservancy. We got to know members of the Pickup Music Project team (and the amazing Paul Matisse) as they constructed the permanent “Player-Fence” sculpture coming to CX in 2021 and tried our very best to stay physically and mentally fit with live-streamed wellness classes curated by our friends at Club High-Rise.
Onsite, we dined socially distanced at Chef Will Gilson’s Best in Boston outdoor dining pop-up in the Picnic Grove throughout the summer months and perused the outdoor gallery at 222 Jacobs Street, celebrating local artists’ winning pieces from the 2020 Cambridge Storefront Design Contest. Now that winter’s here, we appreciate a quiet stroll through The Common, made warmer and brighter by newly installed, colorful lights.
Joined in the effort to help those most affected by the pandemic
Most importantly, we joined together with others in our community to lend a hand to our most vulnerable neighbors and those most affected by the pandemic. In February, we enjoyed preparing a meal for the CASPAR Emergency Services Shelter and delivering one hundred blankets and hats to keep our homeless warm as part of their #GiveHomelessnessTheBoot campaign. We were honored to answer the City’s call to help fund scholarships for Cambridge youth and COVID relief, and especially proud to give to organizations working to provide resources, opportunities, and justice to Black individuals and families, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund/ Three Strikes Project, My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge Teen Summer Program, and YWCA Cambridge Selma Online Program.
These are just a few of the highlights from the past year that we are incredibly proud of. All of this could not have happened without the support of the cities of Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston, our neighbors, and the amazing designers, architects, engineers, contractors and partners that we work with every day. We are excited to one day welcome all of you back in person and have an opportunity to create even more memories at CX! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram @CXCambridge.
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