Boston Planning Agency approves 2,008 residential units, $1.85 billion in development at November 16 meeting

BOSTON–The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors approved seven development projects representing a combined investment of $1.85 billion at its November 16 meeting. The approved projects will yield 1,539 jobs supporting construction activity and 6,183 permanent jobs, BPDA said in a statement.

Included in Thursday’s approvals is Seaport Square, currently Boston’s largest development project. Over the past year, BPDA staff has worked closely with the community and the developer to ensure that the project will continue to create a South Boston Waterfront that is a vibrant, thriving neighborhood and provides public benefits and amenities that will serve the community for generations to come.

Here is the list if development projects as provided by BPDA:

Seaport Square to transform South Boston Waterfront, bringing housing, office space, performing arts facilities and public open space

Live: 700 housing units, 1.5 acre community park, 85 on-site affordable homes, three civic spaces, three performing arts venues, $7.5 million arts endowment, $1 million for Martin’s Park, two playgrounds
Work: 9,000 permanent jobs; over 100 shops, cafes, and restaurants; innovation office spaces, 10-year extension of District Hall
Connect: $25 million in transportation improvements, one and a half miles of bicycle infrastructure, LEED Gold Neighborhood, five GoBoston 2030 mobility hubs, $2 million for Northern Avenue bridge, $2.5 million for MBTA operating subsidy
Project Size: 1,486,910 square feet

The Seaport Square Notice of Project Change (NPC) will continue the transformation of the South Boston Waterfront, bringing 700 housing units, 9,000 permanent jobs, an increase in open public space and a renewed commitment to cultural and civic spaces.  All affordable residential units will be located on the project site.

Originally approved in 2010, the NPC increases overall project-wide pedestrian open space by 20 percent over previous project approvals, creating nearly 7.5 acres of pedestrian open space within the 23-acre project site. The project will invest over $25 million in public infrastructure upgrades including a new Silver Line headhouse, 1.5 miles of protected bicycle lanes and cycle tracks, reconstruction of Seaport Boulevard, and numerous other roadway and public realm improvements.

The project responds to the need for performing arts facilities in Boston, and will create the Seaport Performing Arts Center (SeaPAC) comprised of a flexible 500-seat performing arts venue and a 100-seat venue, as well as a 150-seat Fort Point Community Theater (FPCT) that can be used by smaller local performing arts organizations for performances of many types. In addition, a $7.5M endowment will be created to provide operating support for the project’s 750-seat performing arts venues and over 12,000 square feet of new civic spaces.

The approval expands the neighborhood park space on the “L-Blocks” to 1.5 acres – 20 percent larger than previous project approvals required – and eliminates  a vehicular street running through the park originally proposed in 2008. This new Harbor Square park will provide a signature open space serving area residents and will be designed by world-renowned landscape architect James Corner Field Operations. Seaport Common will be expanded to almost 1 acre – larger than required by previous project approvals – to create a signature park leading to the water.

$2.5 million will be provided as an operating subsidy for water transportation service or improved Silver Line service to waterfront ease traffic congestion. $400,000 will be dedicated for studies and design of additional transportation improvements in the South Boston Waterfront District.

Recognizing the importance of climate change adaptability and resiliency, many of the future Seaport Square buildings, as well as Harbor Square park, will be constructed with ground floors almost three feet above the 500-year flood elevation.

159-201 Washington Street in Brighton to bring hundreds of residential units, restore St. Gabriel’s Monastery

Live: 98 affordable housing units, homeownership and rental opportunities, over seven acres of open space
Work: 300 construction jobs
Connect: 652 bike storage units, Allston Brighton shuttle subsidy, LEED Silver Certified
Project Size: 583,025 square feet

159 – 201 Washington Street is located in an approximately 11.6-acre lot in the Brighton, directly adjacent to the St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center above Washington Street. The project will build four new residential buildings and will restore the abandoned St. Gabriel’s Monastery, a Boston Landmark Building in significant need of repair, and the adjacent Church, retain the property of the existing Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, and renovate the vacant house at 201 Washington Street. The project will enhance the Monastery Path and other improvements within Fidelis Way Park and enhance and maintain public access to the approximately 3-acre Olmsted Brothers-designed landscaped area along Washington Street.

In total, the project will include up to 600,000 square feet of gross floor area, approximately 660 residential units, and approximately 510 parking spaces. Approximately 25 units will be provided in the restored St. Gabriel’s Monastery. Of the approximately 105 condominium units, several may be located within the renovated and expanded Pierce House at 201 Washington Street. The project will incorporate a variety of supporting amenity spaces, including a fitness center, common lounges, kitchens, game rooms, a café, an outdoor pool, outdoor grills, a business center, co-working space, function space, and a generous amount of landscaped areas.

In addition to 85 new onsite affordable rental and condominium units, the project will create an additional 13 new onsite workforce housing rental and condominium units to be made available to persons earning less than or equal to 150 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).

The project will promote access to the local community by providing a 1,000 square foot, publicly-accessible art gallery, a 1,200 square foot multipurpose function room within St. Gabriel’s Church that will be accessible for public events, transform a surface parking lot into an extensively landscaped, visually engaging development, create approximately 7.3 acres of open space, representing more than 60 percent of the project site and maintain public access to the existing wooded open space along Washington Street and protecting the area from future development.

Back Bay/South End Gateway project approval to generate new housing, $69m in transportation renovations for Back Bay Station and surrounding area

Live: 600 market rate units, 90 affordable off-site units, $3 million payment for affordable homeownership, $4.6 million Development Impact Project (DIP) payment
Work: 3,200 new permanent jobs; 2,500 construction jobs, new workplace and retail opportunities
Connect: $69 million in transportation renovation and expansion at Back Bay Station, $3M historic renovation fund, 11K square feet of public plaza, two new Hubway stations, 70 short- and 480 long-term bicycle parking spaces, signalization and other roadway improvements
Project Size: 1,371,480 square feet

The Back Bay/South End Gateway, a mixed-use, transit-oriented redevelopment, will revitalize an underutilized urban site and transform the adjacent public realm, and integrate and connect the surrounding Back Bay, South End, and Bay Village historic neighborhoods. The project consists of a new office building with ground floor retail, two new residential buildings, retail expansion of the existing Back Bay Station building, and the partial redevelopment of the existing 165 Dartmouth Street Garage. The project will invest $69 million in the renovation of Back Bay Station.

The developer currently occupies and utilizes a majority of the site pursuant to a MassDOT lease, which authorizes future air rights development and subdivides the site into four Air Rights Development Parcels:

  • Garage West Parcel, located at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart Streets, includes construction of a new 26-story building of up to 668,470 square feet, containing a new entrance and pedestrian connection to the MBTA station from Stuart Street. It will contain up to 582,500 square feet of commercial office space, up to 23,700 square feet of ground floor retail or restaurant space fronting on Dartmouth and Stuart Streets, and the reconstruction of approximately 207,700 gross square feet of the Existing Garage to be architecturally screened from Dartmouth and Stuart Streets.
  • Garage East Parcel, located on Clarendon Street, will construct a new 28-story residential building of up to 244,310 square feet, and will contain up to 240 residential units and up to approximately 222,100 square feet along the eastern end of the Garage.
  • Station East Parcel, located on the existing bus drop-off along Clarendon Street, involves the relocation of the bus terminal and the removal of the existing MBTA ventilation tower, subject to MBTA approval, in order to construct a new 35-story residential building of up to 425,700 square feet, proposed to contain up to 360 units and 5,100 square feet of ground and second floor retail space.
  • Station West Parcel, located on Dartmouth Street above the existing Station Concourse, involves the vertical expansion of the Station, creating up to approximately 33,000 square feet of additional retail opportunities to serve both transit customers and the adjacent neighborhoods.

The project will contribute approximately $4,625,000 in housing linkage and $925,000 in jobs linkage payments, as well as $3 million to assist with the ongoing historic preservation needs of the surrounding area.

Approval of 95 Saint Alphonsus Street in Mission Hill to bring 115 residential units

Live: 15 on-site IDP units, $10K to Mission Hill playground, new security cameras on Tremont Street
Work: 189 construction jobs, six permanent jobs, proximate to Longwood Medical Area job center
Connect: A Hubway station, parking for over 115 bicycles, affordable parking for eligible 1575 Tremont residents
Project Size: 111,665 square feet

The 95 Saint Alphonsus Street project site is located at 1575 Tremont Street in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. The site currently contains a 175-space parking structure, abuts the Mission Hill Triangle Architectural Conservation District, is in close proximity to the Longwood Medical Area, and is well served by public transportation. The proposed project is comprised of a six-story residential building that will include up to 115 rental units. The residential units will consist of a mix of studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. The project will also  include 130 total parking spaces (108 in a two-level below-grade parking structure and 22 surface spaces).

In addition, the following commitments to the improvement of the Mission Hill neighborhood have been made:

  • A contribution of $10K to the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for maintenance, programming, and other uses at Mission Hill Playground.
  • A contribution of $50K to the Boston Transportation Department for a Hubway station on or near the project site.

Board approves Conservatory Lab Charter School, to be located at Dorchester’s 395 Columbia Road

Live: Public school for 275 students – grades three through eight, increased education opportunities for the neighborhood
Work: 55 full-time positions
Connect: Community accessible facility, support for the Quincy Stanley playground, collaboration with local art organizations
Project Size: 41,000 square feet

The project site consists of two parcels of land at 395 – 409 Columbia Road in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. The site is located near the Uphams’ Corner Health Center to the north and residential properties and the Quincy Stanley playground to the east. The site is currently occupied by Chapman Waterproofing Company, in two single-story buildings. The project proposes the to construct a new three-story school building, which will include 40 parking spaces and a dedicated drop-off path for buses and cars. The new school building will include classroom, gymnasium, performance space, and an outdoor performance courtyard, making the site the permanent location for the Conservatory Lab’s Elementary and Upper School.

Conservatory Lab intends to make the school available to community groups by allowing them to use the gym and cafeteria for community meetings and events. The school also plans to allow classroom space to be available for meetings and/or night classes, and for ensemble/recital space to be made available for community music groups. In addition, Conservatory Lab has committed $10,000 to providing improvements and maintenance at area parks in collaboration with Boston Parks Department.

Hilton Garden Inn approved for East Boston (Notice of Project Change)

Live: 84 additional hotel rooms, community meeting space
Work: 85 construction jobs, 15 new and permanent jobs
Connect: Free shuttle service and wifi
Project Size: 154,513 square feet

The Hilton Garden Inn project is located at the corner of McClellan Highway and Boardman Street in the Orient Heights section of East Boston. Updates to the site will include the elimination of a one-story retail building on the eastern edge of the site and the addition of a five-story building to the existing Hilton Garden Inn hotel. The proposed addition will contain 84 hotel rooms and will eliminate approximately 25 on-site parking spaces. With the proposed revisions, the hotel will contain a total of 262 guest rooms and 321 off-street parking spaces for hotel guests.

The project will yield a number of benefits for the East Boston neighborhood and the City of Boston as a whole, including: Smart Growth/Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), improved street and pedestrian environment, sustainable design/green building, increased employment opportunities, additional property taxes, and youth hospitality internships.

370-380 Harrison Avenue moves forward with approval for 273 residential units, retail space (Notice of Project Change)

Live: 55 affordable units, 218 market rate units, publicly accessible new mid-block connector
Work: 8,500 square feet of retail space, approximately 40 retail jobs and 400 construction jobs
Connect: 273 bicycle storage spaces, LEED Silver certifiable, $400K towards transportation infrastructure improvements

On October 11, 2017, a Notice of Project Change (NPC) for the 370-380 Harrison project was submitted to the BPDA. The NPC consists of the demolition of the two existing structures occupying the project site and the construction of a 14-story, 150 foot mixed-use building that will include housing, retail space, and 180 off-street parking spaces. The proposed change to the original project consists of a reduction of 41 residential units, bringing the total of residential units to 273 residential units (172 rental units and 101 condominiums).

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