Alewife Business Association forms
Originally published as a complement to “Final Frontier: Opportunities Challenges arise as Alewife development soars” April 7, 2014 in the Cambridge Chronicle.
When attorney Bill Ahern and his partners moved their law firm, Clark, Hunt, Ahern & Embry, from East Cambridge to Alewife last year, Ahern said something felt like it was missing.
“We moved over a year ago and people seemed friendly enough in the elevator, but I started thinking about how we don’t know anybody,” Ahern said. “I thought, ‘I wish we had a business association like we did in East Cambridge.'”
Ahern said he got in touch with his former association colleagues, who put him in touch with the city, and the Alewife Business Association was born. Lisa Hammerle, director of Cambridge’s Economic Development Department, said the group has already met three times with around 25-30 people turning up at each event.
So far, Hammerle said, traffic has dominated the conversation.
“Businesses in the Alewife area are pretty concerned about traffic,” Hammerle said. “But, we talked about the potential for a transportation management association to help them manage those different issues.”
Ahern said the group is still trying to determine its focus.
“Unlike East Cambridge where there are a lot of storefronts, people are in office buildings,” Ahern said, adding he was completely unaware of the residential development taking place on Cambridge Park Drive until he moved there. “It’s pretty exciting to be in a mixed-use area. Maybe we could help facilitate bringing some other businesses here, like a coffee shop.”
Hammerle said the residential development would offer a good balance to the office buildings that are already there. (To read more about Alewife development, click here.)
“If we did all commercial, the traffic would be worse,” Hammerle said. “It’s a good balance.”
As more people come, that will help attract retail, Ahern said, drawing a comparison to East Cambridge and Kendall Square more than a decade ago.
“I’d love (Alewife) to be Kendall Square circa 2014, because it’s all happening there now,” Ahern said. “They’ve got great restaurants and bars and so many things going on, it was hard to leave that area. Now, I’m hopeful the same thing will develop down here.”
The Alewife Business Association typically meets on the third Thursday of every month.