Video Tour: Blending Old Charm With Multifamily Technology

Welcome to Ink Block, where luxury amenities, energy efficiencies and community spaces are utilized to market to Millennials.

“A big part of what we do is connecting residents, and technology is a way that we do that,” says Ted Tye, managing partner at National Development.

But that wasn’t always the way. Ink Block’s new residences used to be home to one of Boston’s oldest newspapers, the Boston Herald. Remnants of that are seen within the buildings’ walls.

Preserving the Old with the New

“Our wall coverings through our common areas are made of recycled newspapers,” says Tye of the six-acre site National Development bought in 2006. It’s put a lot of effort into preserving its history. There are a couple of cargo containers that form the mailroom and recycled six-foot letters from the old Boston Herald newspaper sign.

Ink Block community spaces showcase upscale appliances, internet-accessible mail portal and high-tech projector.
Ink Block community spaces showcase upscale appliances, internet-accessible mail portal and high-tech projector.

But with that tribute to the old comes technology that’s new. Ink Block residents can connect to a portal in that same mail room using the internet.

“It is very simple and tells you whether you have a package available, the weather, whether the MBTA is tied up or if there’s a traffic jam on the highway,” says Tye.

SEE TROY BOSTON: Multifamily Appeals to Tech-Minded Millennials

A high-tech projection screen showcases old black and white images of Boston’s South End. “Creating design edge and amenities that go with it are really what Millennials are looking for,” he says.

Luxury Amenities

And they’re willing to pay for it. Let’s just say these state-of-the-art, luxury units cost a lot more than the price of a newspaper. Rentals start around $2,500. Condos are priced from $500 thousand to beyond $2 million. But residents get luxury amenities like keyless entry, an outdoor lounge with a SunBriteTV, community kitchens with upscale appliances and work-out areas featuring Fitness On Demand.

Green Living

Tye says Millennials’ demand for green living has also driven energy efficiencies at the Ink Block such as the combined heat and power (co-gen) system it shares with Whole Foods.

Millennials don't mind smaller units as long as they get luxury amenities and green living features.
Millennials don’t mind smaller units, as long as they get luxury amenities and green living features.

“We work together with them to create a system that takes the heat generated by the grocery store by all of their cooling equipment, captures it and uses it to heat and cool all the residential apartments.”

There’s also energy star appliances, electric car charging stations and a bike sharing system called Hubway that uses solar power. “Our renters and our buyers are really very concerned about energy efficiency and the environment,” says Tye. “And it’s a question that we’re often asked as people walk in the door is ‘what are you doing?’”

And that answer needs to be thought through carefully because just across the way another luxury multifamily development, Troy Boston, is using the same tricks to market to Millennials.

“We are trying to do something really different in this neighborhood that takes advantage of the arts and music and just the real character of the South End area,” says Tye.

About The Author

Andrea Medeiros is editor-in-chief, multimedia director and content developer at TecHome Builder. She is a former TV news reporter turned home technology guru and is using her broadcast journalism skills to help our team deliver complicated, tech-focused content in a conversational way. She has a decade of experience in the editorial realm—interviewing, writing and editing stories as well as shooting, editing and producing video content. She is most interested in covering interoperability among smart devices.

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