What’s New? Guide to Assembly Square

AssembledThis up-and-coming area has been in the works since 1998, but has made noticeable progress with the addition of several businesses as well as the finalization of construction sites and solidified business plans for Assembly Row, which is set to debut next year.

Once it all comes together, the vision for Assembly Square is a vibrant, lively destination that attracts residents from throughout the greater Boston area while maintaining its local authenticity. It aims to be a complete and well-rounded community with plenty of options for living, working, dining, shopping and exploring what Somerville has to offer.

What’s New:
A brand new Starbucks opened this month, occupying the retail space adjacent to Burger Dive, the tasty fast food joint featuring artisanal burgers, creative sandwiches and killer milkshakes that entered on to the scene last fall. Compared to other locations, this Starbucks has a more open, inviting feel with a wider coffee selection and an abundance of both indoor and outdoor seating.

Last weekend, residents and visitors of Assembly Square kicked off ASSEMBLED, the summer-long arts market featuring handmade crafts from New England artisans that are on display and available for purchase. “Assembled” sets up shop on Grand Union Boulevard along the Mystic River and runs from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. every Saturday now through September. Each week features different products adhering to a certain theme, which ranges from online-based groups such as Boston Etsy to global fair trade to Steampunk and Riverfest. Admission is free for all, and participants are able to admire the selection of clothing, jewelry, art pieces, photographs and more while enjoying live music and food from local food trucks.

What’s Now:
At the moment, Assembly Square consists mainly of major retailers, excluding Burger Dive and Starbucks, which have already proven to be major successes. The surrounding area is currently home to a super Kmart, Sports Authority, Staples, AC Moore, Michael’s and The Christmas Tree Shop. Those who want to grab a bite and do some one-stop shopping should look no further, while others looking for more need to wait just a little while longer for the upcoming developments to reach their final stages.

What’s Next:
The most anticipated part of the Assembly Square project is Assembly Row, with 45-acres that will soon house apartments, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified office space, a 200-room hotel, upscale dining options and a shopping center with over 50 premier outlet stores. With two exits leading directly to I-93 and a dedicated orange line T stop, the row will be extremely convenient for commuters and visitors while still attracting a large number of permanent residents. The modern, amenity-rich Avalon Bay complex offers spacious studios in addition to one, two and three-bedroom apartments with gourmet kitchens, granite countertops, thoughtfully designed floor plans and balconies boasting spectacular views of the 6-acre waterfront park.

Community amenities include a swimming pool, well-equipped fitness center, resident lounge, garage parking and on-site retail shopping. The surrounding area will also be filled with new dining options like Papagayo and Legal C Bar, the casual urban dining experience by Legal Seafoods that offers classic “c” fare such as clams, cod, calamari and custom cocktails. By this time next year, there’s no doubt that Assembly Square will be a hot spot in Somerville and its surrounding areas. –Alessia Antonucci