The Somerville Times: No change for Ames Business Park with new owners
By Emily Blackwood
Ames Business Park is under new ownership thanks to a deal with development and management company Rafi Properties.
In April, Rafi Properties closed on an $88 million deal to buy the 300,000-square-foot mixed-use site. Currently the home to unique businesses such as Greentown Labs, Brooklyn Boulders, Aeronaut Brewing Co., Tasting Counter and Artisan’s Asylum, Rafi’s managing director says he plans on keeping the diversity of the space as is.
“The former owner has done a phenomenal job on turning it from an empty warehouse space, and we really see our ability to push it to the next step for innovation,” said Colin Yip. “We’re talking to the city about some transportation improvements that could be done in and around the business park, creating some art displays, better parking; that’s the low hanging fruits we’re gonna go after right now.”
Tenants like Michael Yim, site director for Aeronaut, say they love the community feel Ames Business Park has to it.
“It kinda feels like a small living room,” Yim said, “We’re all on the same page and enjoy the culture and art everyone has to offer. We have a hub that’s hidden in many ways from the general public. That makes it special for me.”
People can learn how to play Go, a Chinese strategy game, at Aeronaut, work on their cosplay costumes at Artisan’s Asylum, have the ultimate date night at Tasting Room and support local startups at Greentown Labs.
“Adjacent to our kitchen is a brewery, and right outside our doors is Somerville Chocolate,” said Peter Ungár of Tasting Counter. “Whenever there’s any chocolate we use, it was made literally just feet away from us. When we do a beer pairing, some of that beer is coming from right down the hall.”
Ted Sirota, president of Artisan’s Asylum, said he’d had similar experiences with his fellow tenants and neighbors.
“We host one-person startups, and Greentown Labs hosts larger ones,” he said. “Usually what can happen is that a person starts pursuing their idea with us as a hobby or a way to get away from their jobs, and then they decide they want to take it more seriously and grow, so they go to Greentown.”
This connection and community is the heart of Ames Business Park, which is precisely the way Yip wants to keep it. In addition to making the area more accessible, Rafi and the tenants are also working to throw a summer block party in the park. The date for that is still to be determined.
“There’s so much soul and authentic life in that whole area. We want to make sure whatever we do fits that and continues to make that because that’s what makes Union Square unique and that’s what we want to preserve.”
For more information on Ames Business Park and its tenants, visit www.somernova.com.