Case Studies

Avalon Canton at Blue Hills – AvalonBay Communities Inc.

Creating a new community in the Boston suburbs

Located just 15 miles southwest of downtown Boston, Canton, Massachusetts, is a town of just over 21,000 residents. Accessible by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) commuter rail line, Canton is home to the headquarters of several large, national brands including Reebok, Computershare and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Avalon Canton is the newest multifamily residential development from owner/developer AvalonBay Communities Inc. The $30 million Avalon Canton at Blue Hills is actually the second phase of a development that began in the adjacent town of Randolph, Massachusetts.

Avalon Canton at Blue Hills – AvalonBay Communities Inc.

After finding success with its first development in the area, AvalonBay expanded the project into the neighboring town in 2013 and completed construction in 2014.

A home for all

Avalon Canton is a 196-unit, garden-style apartment complex with one-, two- and three-bedroom units in both apartment and townhouse styles ranging in price from $1,800 to $2,500 per month. The community offers scenic views and easy access to both public transportation and major roads, as well as nearby retail options.

Units include a full slate of modern amenities such as well-quipped kitchens, walk-in closets, patios, balconies and an in-unit washer and dryer. The Avalon Canton community also features a full fitness center, outdoor pool and kitchen, fireside lounge and free Wi-Fi.

In addition to a long list of amenities, AvalonBay Communities offers a program of additional perks under the Avalon Advantage program. The program includes professional, on-site management and a 24-hour maintenance response guarantee.

AvalonBay Communities also offers a green living program as part of the company’s commitment to incorporate practices that promote energy efficiency and sustainability. With a number of green features such as energy efficient windows, programmable thermostats, Energy Star appliances and fluorescent lighting and high-efficiency toilets, Avalon Canton residents can save between $229 and $762 on their annual utility bills.

In a bid to make residents of all size feel welcomed to the community, Avalon Canton offers the WAG program for pets. Short for “welcome, appreciate, give,” the program donates to animal-friendly causes and provides pets with treats and a clean space to play. WAG also holds social events for pets, including the Doggie Paddle Pool Party, Yappy Hours, a pet CPR class and the Howl-O-Week Party and Costume Contest.

Solving site challenges

Having already completed the first phase of the project in Randolph, developers had an established roadmap to follow when it came time to construct Avalon Canton. However, this doesn’t mean the project was without its challenges.

“This was a unique job in that the first phase was in Randolph and the second phase is right on the Canton line,” says Tony Sanchez, senior project manager for AvalonBay Communities.

While both developments utilize the same entrance, the fact that the new community was located in Canton required AvalonBay to bring in all new water and electricity lines instead of tapping into utilities on the Randolph side.

“We had to bring those a mile to the project from Canton, over a main road and through an abutting property, so that was quite a task,” says Sanchez. While the senior project manager has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, Avalon Canton’s utilities represented an entirely new challenge. “There were a lot of players involved and coordination as difficult at best,” he says.

Developers also had to contend with complicated site land development issues, including building a road over the development’s main, 36-inch gas distribution line. “That was quite tricky because all the utilities had to do above or under it, so there was great caution needed just to do that,” says Sanchez.

The project followed a very aggressive timeline in a bid to quickly attract residents. While there were some minor setbacks during construction, Sanchez says he’s proud of the fact that Avalon Canton met its initial deadline. “We had a great construction team all the way from administrators to the field superintendent team,” he says.

As the owner and developer, AvalonBay did not self-perform any work on the development, instead relying on a trusted team of time-test subcontractors. “We pride ourselves on using qualified subcontractors. They’re not necessarily the lowest price, but they’re the most qualified and we strive to use a lot of local subcontractors as well,” says Sanchez.

AvalonBay Communities has developed multifamily housing communities across the country, including projects in California, Florida, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia. In addition to communities such as Avalon Canton, the company also specializes in nursing homes and single family housing.

With a full range of amenities including energy efficient appliances, a pet program and state-of-the-art fitness center, Avalon Canton at Blue Hills represents an important addition to AvalonBay Communities Inc.’s portfolio of multifamily residential developments.

Published on: November 8, 2016


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