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BRA board approves new John Hancock building at November meeting

Nov 11, 2015

Also approves housing in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale; Watertown HVAC company set to redevelop property in Boston Marine Industrial Park
The Board of Directors of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) approved four development projects worth an estimated $374.7 million at last night’s meeting. Most notably, John Hancock received approval to construct a new $350 million, 26-story office tower in Back Bay that will include a public lobby with restaurant and retail space, a roof deck, and four levels of underground parking. The board also approved small housing projects in Roslindale and Jamaica Plain. 

After granting a tentative designation in June, the board gave final approval for J.C. Cannistraro, a plumbing and HVAC company based in Watertown, to rehabilitate a large BRA-owned industrial building in the South Boston Waterfront. The company plans to use the new facility to fabricate plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, and related construction products. 

To help further Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s goal of making Boston a municipal arts leader, the BRA board approved a $60,000 grant to Technical Development Corporation to conduct a cultural facilities assessment. The study will survey Boston’s arts and culture landscape and quantify the needs of the performing arts community. The BRA has been working closely with the Mayor’s Office and the Mayor’s Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros on cultural planning.

Below is a summary of the development projects that were approved last night.

380 Stuart Street will be home to new signature office building for John Hancock

Total Project Cost: $350,000,000
Total SF: 625,000
Construction Jobs: 454
John Hancock plans to begin construction on its new $350 million, 625,000 square foot building in Back Bay in the second half of 2016 with the goal of completing the project in early 2019. The 26-story tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to be LEED Gold certifiable, will replace a nine-story building at 380 Stuart Street. The new office building, which will provide workspace for over 3,000 employees, is expected to include a conference center, collaborative space, a fitness center, ground floor retail and restaurant space, and a roof deck that could be used for community events. The project will contain approximately 175 underground parking spaces for occupants and visitors, as well as five loading bays that will be accessed off of an adjacent alley.

As required by zoning, John Hancock will contribute approximately $5.25 million over several years in so-called linkage payments to support affordable housing creation and workforce development in Boston. The company will put $4.38 million into the Neighborhood Housing Trust and over $876,000 into the Neighborhood Jobs Trust.

New pedestrian and bicycle accommodations are planned as part of the project. Generous sidewalks, street furnishings, landscaping, lighting, and other amenities will help animate the streets around the building. John Hancock will also commit a total of $100,000 to the Friends of Copley Square to help maintain and improve the public park.

Bartlett Square II to add transit-oriented housing near Orange Line in Jamaica Plain

Total Project Cost: $3,500,000
Total SF: 24,080
Construction Jobs: 17
A vacant lot across from the Green Street MBTA station on the Orange Line will be redeveloped with 15 new rental apartments and commercial space as part of the Bartlett Square II project in Jamaica Plain. The project follows on the heels of Bartlett Square I, a nearby condo building that opened in 2012. The same development team, led by Christopher DeSisto, is behind Bartlett Square II.

The four-story Bartlett Square II will consist of three three-bedroom apartments, nine two-bedroom units, and three one-bedroom units. In accordance with the city’s affordable housing requirements, the project will have two affordable units designated for households earning 70 percent of area median income or below (or less than $48,250 for a one-person household).

Bartlett Square II will include two ground-floor retail spaces that total approximately 5,700 square feet. While specific tenants have not been identified, the developer hopes to attract a restaurant for one of the spaces and lease the remaining space for office use. Designed by Spalding-Tougias Architects, the project will feature a solar array on the roof. 

The developer hopes to begin construction by March 2016 and complete the project by July 2017.

Former gas station site in Roslindale will be transformed for housing 

Total Project Cost: $6,200,000
Total SF: 24,210
Construction Jobs: 18

Horizon Development, LLC received approval to build 16 new condominium units on the site of the former Weld American Auto Service gas station at the corner of Weld and Centre Street in Roslindale. The location, which is currently an eyesore in the community and has been vacant for the last ten years, will be enhanced with the new four-story residential building at 100 Weld Street

Residents will enter through the first floor, which will contain an office unit and the building’s mechanical and utility systems. The condominium units will be located on floors two through four. There will be 26 on-site parking spaces, with 15 enclosed on the ground floor for residents and 11 outside for guests and the office unit.

J.C. Cannistraro receives final designation to rehab building in Boston Marine Industrial Park for new fabrication facility

Total Project Cost: $15,000,000
Total SF: 157,000
Construction Jobs: 62

J.C. Cannistraro, a Watertown-based provider of plumbing, fire protection, HVAC, and sheet metal pre-fabrication services, will move forward with plans to substantially rehabilitate a worn industrial building at 25 Fid Kennedy Avenue in the Boston Marine Industrial Park. The BRA board tentatively designated the company as the redeveloper of the 157,000 square foot building in June. Cannistraro and the BRA’s sister agency, the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation, have come to terms on a fifty-year lease for the parcel that paved the way for final designation.

The company will overhaul the building to accommodate welding, assembly, fabrication, materials storage, and new office space. The existing freight elevators and stair towers will be upgraded and supplemented by a new enclosed fire staircase and an open-sided vertical lift for materials.

Cannistraro intends to move approximately 100 jobs to the new facility.

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