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Feb 12, 2016

Waltham’s The Merc Eyes 2016 Completion

Waltham News Tribune
February 11, 2016
by Bill Whelan


The year started off with a bang for the developers of The Merc at Main and Moody, when late last month the building at 1 Moody St. was demolished.

The developers hope to finish the year with a bang as well, as the end of 2016 is the target date for the completion of the Merc mixed-use complex.

Construction on the three-building, five-story, 269-unit apartment and retail complex began in the summer of 2014, but the Merc has been in the works for nearly a decade. The developers worked with the city to refocus and refine the project until it worked for both parties.

“We saw it as a great opportunity for multi-family development,” said Peter Standish, senior vice president with Northland Investment Corporation, the developers of the project.

“It’s in the heart of the downtown. Moody Street had just gone through its restaurant transformation and it all seemed like a great opportunity and time to build,” he added.

Many installations in the building reflect the history and culture of Waltham. The rugs in apartment hallways are adorned with watch gears. Collages of old Waltham postcards with handwritten notes will soon adorn the elevator lobbies.

The look and design of the building is modeled after the old Mercantile Building, at the corner of Main and Moody streets. That building stood next to Waltham Trust, Central Square Movie Theatre and the Odd Fellows Building on the Moody Street side, all making up what was known as Central Square. The building was demolished in 1979 and replaced with 1 Moody St.

The structure at 1 Moody St. was the last to be demolished on the property. Northland Vice President of Development Kent Gonzales said construction on the new building on that location will start sometime in the spring. Half of that building, which runs from Main Street to Charles Street along Moody Street, is currently under construction. The building on Charles Street is nearly completed and scheduled to open by the spring, according to Gonzales.

The first finished building, along Main Street, has 40 of its 87 units occupied. Standish said most of the people living at the Merc either work in the high-tech industries along Rt. 128, or are empty nesters. He said there aren’t many tenants who work in Boston, but the proximity to the commuter rail allows that possibility.

The building along Charles Street will have 64 units and the building along Moody Street will have 118 units.

In addition to the apartments, there is also 27,595 square feet of retail space on the first floor of the buildings along Main Street and Moody Street. Currently, Santander Bank is on Main Street, but will move to the corner of Moody and Main Streets when the building at that location is completed. In the vacated space on Main Street and in the retail space along Moody Street, Gonzales said he is looking for a “signature” restaurant, “not a chain.”