When the property manager held up the gold key to her fourth-floor corner apartment, Sarah Derewitz and her parents Carol and Dan clapped with joy.
For Derewitz, Thursday was an unusual homecoming.
The 31-year-old spent six years living in Somerville, a courtship that was broken by career ambitions and a master's program that drew her back to her home state of Pennsylvania.
As she and her parents admired the new building from the Maxwell's Green complex's dusty parking lot, cleaning crews were upstairs putting the finishing touches on Derewitz's one-bedroom apartment. She is among the first to move in to the 180-unit complex, which had been years in the planning.
"I wanted to come back here, and the options were not as high quality" elsewhere in the city, Derewitz said, pointing out the building's in-house amenities, eco-friendly appeal, and the attractiveness of new construction in a city with aging housing stock.
The early move-in comes before the wider opening Sept. 1 of the complex's first 60 units in building A, a glass, brick, and metal structure that spans the entrance road from Lowell Street.
But that's not to say things weren't down to the wire.
Robin Boersner, property manager at Maxwell's Green, said occupancy permits were approved in the scant hours before the first moving truck parked in the building's arched portico around noon.
"We didn't know people were moving in until last night," said Boersner. "The fact that we made it is really good."
While movers hustled boxes and bags up four flights of steps -- the elevator awaited a final inspection, a property manager said -- the atmosphere was still unmistakably that of a construction site.
On three floors below the completed units, men in hard hats daubed cream-colored paint into hallway corners. Electricians fished wires through ceiling tiles, and stainless steel kitchen appliances were stacked three-deep at the building's entrance still wrapped in plastic. Everywhere, the noise of power tools mixed with the chemical smell of freshly unpacked raw materials.
Outside, the scene was just as chaotic. Dozens of workers in fluorescent T-shirts, hardhats, and stained denim worked on the complex's other three buildings, sawing lumber, building concrete forms, and finishing exterior touches.
"You get down to move-in time, it gets crazy," said Steve Perdue, project manager for the construction site. "Everyone's on top of each other."
Billed as a companion project to the Green Line Extension and the adjacent community path, the $52 million complex will offer apartments ranging from studio-size to 3-bedroom apartments and 3-bedroom town houses.
Studio rents range from $1,831 to $2,125; one bedrooms from $2,070 to $2,515; two bedrooms from $2,760 to $3,590; and three bedrooms from $3,955 to $3,975, according to ForRent.com.
Matt Byrne can be reached at email@example.com.