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Plans for mixed-use development at intersection of Mass Ave. and Main St.

Following Normandy Real Estate Partners and Twining Properties’ purchase of properties formally owned by Kathy Fennell and the Fennell Property Trust in January, plans for the area at the intersection of Mass Ave. and Main St. will have a general focus on mixed-use development but remain unspecific. A joint venture between Normandy Real Estate Partners and Twining Properties bought the parcels, including several parking lots and the former Quest Diagnostics building, for a reported $32.4 million. According to Cambridge City Councilor Kenneth Reeves, the Fennel properties constitute “the largest number of parcels to be sold in Central Square in a long time.”

By phone, Alex Twining, CEO of Twining Properties, commented that his objective is to transform the parcels into a mixed-use development including “residential, retail, hotel, and office spaces.” “We want to make this a really exciting new part of Central Square,” Twining said. “Right now Central Square gets pretty dead around the intersection between Main Street and Mass Ave.,” where the properties are located.

Before proceeding with any development plans, Twining stated that he and his partners are monitoring the city’s ongoing discussion of new zoning regulations, which would likely impact the area surrounding the former Fennell properties.

Twining Properties has played a significant role in the development of Kendall Square as the developer of the Watermark apartments and Broad Point Canal. Twining is also responsible for starting a retail-leasing group, CityRetail, headed by Jesse Bearkan, which attracted some of the first retailers and restaurants to Kendall Square including Evoo and Za.

After facing the challenge of attracting retailers to Kendall Square, Twining stated, “Central Square has a lot more to start with [than Kendall Square]. For us it’s exciting to do a project in an area where there is already a lot to work with.”

—Sara Hess