Somerville, Massachusetts is often ranked as a city with one of the densest populations of artists per capita. The city’s rich history has led to a legacy of creativity in all forms, and if you visit, you’ll see for yourself that Somerville truly does live and breathe art.

When Federal Realty began developing Assembly Row, it was clear that Somerville’s love of the arts had to shine through, which triggered a domino effect of local artist features, dynamic installations, and creative placemaking elements. The result is not just an average multi-use property that you could find anywhere in the country, but a community of residents, workers, visitors, and creatives experiencing a unique, culturally rich destination.

Assembly Row provides a one-of-a-kind experience.

Creative placemaking, or “community-building” as Federal calls it, is leveraged throughout Assembly Row. With pedestrian-friendly streets dedicated to open-air seating, games, and live music, these spaces promote connectivity and a sense of rootedness within the neighborhood.

On the main road, trees with twinkling lights welcome tenants, residents, and visitors alike; brass plaques on the sidewalks are sprinkled throughout the neighborhood to honor the over fifty languages spoken in Somerville, and iron trusses from industrial remnants found on the site bookend the asset.

Further, the property is adjacent to Baxter State Park, a five-acre space along the Mystic River with miles of walking and bike paths and an amphitheater.

Several sculptures and artwork, including murals, digital art, and giant flowers, provide form and function. Local nonprofit Artists for Humanity designed some of the flowers, while a local solar energy company installed the whimsical solar flowers that accompany them. Gio, the 20-foot-high Lego giraffe which looms large on the main intersection, continues to be a landmark, meeting place, and popular photo op.


Assembly Row provides a one-of-a-kind experience, from small touches that show the city’s commitment to the area with examples of its industrial past.

These deliberate choices to create an artistic and welcoming environment are not lost on the community. Assembly Row has received an outpour of positive feedback, with a resounding request to keep the artwork and placemaking projects coming. When polled in a recent survey, 96% of residents agreed that they would recommend Assembly Row living to a friend, and Liz Ryan, Federal Realty’s Vice President of Regional Leasing, has reported strong leasing results on the retail front.

If it wasn’t abundantly clear, business is booming at Federal Realty’s Assembly Row — though their success is not just due to distinctive shops and trendy restaurants. It’s the art of creative placemaking — knowing the community and meeting them where they’re at — that gives rise to an active space that business owners, residents, and visitors all love to occupy.