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On The Hot Seat

Real estate firm developing new kind of community

Kyle Warwick, principal, Gate Residential.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Kyle Warwick is a developer who wants to move beyond cookie-cutter apartment communities. As a principal of Gate Residential, a Boston real estate firm, he is trying to bring a different kind of aesthetic to Greater Boston. He recently spoke with Globe reporter Casey Ross about a new project in Somerville and the market niche he hopes to serve.

Real estate development is a tough, risky business, especially in our uncertain economy. What draws you to the work?

It’s the diversity of experience, and the people you deal with. It’s also the excitement of creating something from scratch and being able to influence the way a generation lives and leave a legacy behind.

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So how is the residential real estate market changing?

People are gravitating toward cities. Young professionals are raising their children in urban environments — or at least starting to. Empty nesters are simplifying their lives and moving into the city, and both groups are looking to rent. We don’t think this is a fad or fly-by-night trend. People want to put the car away and walk or take a bike to work and be part of something larger.

How are you tapping into that with your new project, Maxwell’s Green in Somerville?

Maxwell’s Green is a 184-unit multifamily development outside Davis Square along the Somerville community pathway. We believe the path is the project’s most valuable asset. The property is a 10-minute walk from the Red Line and equidistant from Davis and Porter squares. We’ve placed a special focus on landscape architecture and interior design, trying to meld inside and outside to create a great living environment.

Your company is a partnership of principals of the former Spaulding & Slye real estate firm. How is the company managing through shaky times?

We’re a 2½-year-old firm whose principals have combined experience of over 30 years in this business. The partners come from an urban background, and bringing an urban edge to projects is something unique we can offer. Right now we’re doing great things both on the investment side and in our fee-for-service advisory business, Redgate Real Estate Advisors.

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Maxwell’s Green is your first project with your development arm, Gate Residential. Why is now the right time to build?

First of all, we’re lucky to be in New England and centered in Boston. Whether you’re looking to build commercial or residential, Boston is one of the best markets in the country, and maybe the world right now. We’re bringing something innovative and exciting to the market and trying to hit a demographic that is really looking for a certain lifestyle . . . healthy living, entertainment, and fitness, and getting the most out of the living experience.

What makes the project unique in terms of amenities offered to residents?

We have a community chef’s kitchen that opens into a great room with pool tables and other games. It’s like the multimillion-dollar apartment you don’t have, but that you now have access to. You can bring in your own chef or cook yourself for a large dinner party. There is also a theater room, network [computer] lounge, outdoor deck, and fitness center with top-of-the-line equipment and a yoga room. All residents will have access to these amenities at no additional cost. Rents start at $2,000 for a one bedroom and average about $3,000 for a two-bedroom.

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Those sound expensive. What makes you confident the upfront investment will pay off?

We’re giving people exactly what they want. It doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 55, this product is meeting the demands of both generations. It’s exactly what you want to have in your rental unit (stainless steel, bamboo floors, granite countertops). This is also a place where you’re part of a community.

How do you manage the inevitable logistical and political snags on a project like Maxwell’s Green?

You have to stay balanced so you don’t get too high with some success, and you don’t get too low with some of the challenges. You have to believe in your vision and keep your eye on that vision. That enables you to plow through the ups and downs.


Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.