Common areas with hotel-style amenities are a must-have element at newly-built multifamily housing as developers seek to differentiate their properties in a steady building boom.

Charles Zammuto took a DIY approach to his latest venture, combining his artistic hobby with a theater theme at the newly-completed Magoun Square development called 519 on Broadway.

Describing himself as “kind of a closet painter,” Zammuto previously applied his brushes to canvas in a home basement studio for personal, not financial enrichment. He settled on a theater theme including a 20-seat movie room as part of the amenity spaces at 519 on Broadway. Zammuto’s artwork – in the form of Broadway-style playbills – complement common areas on all five stories of the 55-unit building.

The project, which has frontage at 519 Broadway in Somerville and 87 Medford St. in Medford, follows a familiar template for multifamily development in Boston’s inner-ring suburbs. The longtime family owners of a low-rise property – in this case, the 33,000-square-foot Office Furniture Liquidators showroom – had fielded numerous inquiries from developers interested in replacing it with housing. As a friend of the family, Zammuto had an inside track and partnered with the owners on the development, acquiring one parcel in 2018 for $1.3 million and expanding the development site with an adjacent parcel owned by the same family.

Designed by Neshamkin French Architects, the complex has 13 of 55 units under agreement with prices starting in the high-$600,000s. An 11,000-square-foot commercial space is expected to be occupied by a 400-capacity restaurant led by a chef with an undisclosed Back Bay restaurant, Zammuto said.

And on Tuesday, 519 on A announced that it will provide some COVID-19 relief to one of Zammuto’s favorite local establishments, backbar in Union Square. From 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 8, the cocktail bar will host a pop-up event on 591 on A’s second-floor garden deck, in which backbar owner Sam Treadway will uncork a new cocktail incorporating ingredients suggested by the first 10 parties to submit a reservation at The Somerville cocktail bar has been limited to offering to-go cocktails and mixers since March because of the COVID-19.

A Developer Shows His Work at Magoun Square Condos

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min