BPDA approves new life science developments that will create thousands of jobs
Nov 17, 2022
New housing in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mission Hill moves forward
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved eight new development projects representing 1,618,072 square feet (SF). The new projects will create 222 residential units, 80 of which will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 1,606 construction jobs and 3,863 permanent jobs. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.
BPDA Board adopts affordable housing executive order
The BPDA Board of Directors adopted Mayor Michelle Wu’s Executive Order Relative to Speeding the Production of Affordable Housing. This executive order is intended to streamline the process for developing affordable housing across the city. The order directs the BPDA to recommend changes to Article 80 of the Boston Zoning Code to establish an alternative path for the review of affordable housing developments. The new process will include community engagement and thorough agency review, but also establish clear and accelerated timelines. Within 120 days, the BPDA will issue a report on potential Boston Zoning Code changes that would incentivize the creation of affordable housing while minimizing the need for variances or other permitting burdens for these projects.
Planning and Urban Design
BPDA releases RFP to study vacant office conversions
The BPDA Board of Directors approved the release of a Request for Proposals to study the feasibility of offices being converted into residential housing, life science, and other uses in Downtown Boston. This RFP is part of a larger effort to revitalize Downtown Boston in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The study will coordinate closely with the recently relaunched PLAN: Downtown to provide a market analysis, cost estimates, and policy recommendations to assess the immediate and long-term opportunity areas for office conversion. The study supports the overarching goals of increasing the number of residents in the Downtown area which will result in increased economic activity outside of traditional working hours, and enhance housing access for Boston residents across all levels of affordability. It will also seek to preserve historic building facades and downtown’s historic character, while providing new mixed uses. This RFP will go live November 21, with responses due by December 22.
125 Lincoln Street project to build a new research and development building, create affordable housing project on separate site in Chinatown
Live: Affordable housing project at 79 Essex Street creating 50-60 units, more than $2 million in linkage contributions towards affordable housing
Work: Approximately 375 construction jobs, approximately 1,000 permanent jobs, MassBioEd life sciences apprenticeship program, more than $400,000 in linkage contributions towards job training
Connect: Public realm and right of way improvements, construction of onsite banquet hall
Sustain: Targeting a 90 percent reduction in fossil fuel consumption
This project in the Leather District will convert what is currently a dilapidated building consisting of parking, retail, and office space, into a new 11-story research and development building with ground floor retail space. In support of affordable housing, this project will contribute 50-60 income-restricted units at nearby 79 Essex Street in Chinatown, to be developed by an affordable housing developer, and which will go through its own public process. The proposed 79 Essex Street development will be a restoration project, meeting one of the many goals of the PLAN: Downtown planning initiative of historic preservation, and preserving the urban fabric of Downtown and Chinatown. The 125 Lincoln Street project will make on- and off-site public realm improvements to improve pedestrian conditions in the Leather District, complete the Beach Street Corridor, and better connect the site to the adjacent Greenway. In addition, it will provide design and other resources to implement or advance improvements to the Leather District Park, as well as funding for Chin Park, and the Greenway Business Improvement District. In support of the City’s carbon neutral goals, the project will target a 90 percent reduction in fossil fuel consumption, and design to prepare for sea level rise. To motivate potential retail tenants, the project will contribute $3.5 million towards design and construction for community oriented retail businesses on the ground floor. The project is also contributing $200,000 to help relocate the Hei La Moon restaurant currently on site. In support of creating jobs, the project will contribute approximately $200,000 to MassBioEd, providing STEM education resources and a pathway to biotech and life science jobs for Boston residents. In addition, approximately $50,000 will go to the Josiah Quincy Elementary School for STEM education resources. There will be 134 bike parking spaces on site, showers, and lockers to support biking commuters, as well as a $95,160 contribution to the Boston Transportation Department to support the City’s bikeshare program, and for a new Bluebikes station onsite.
Project at 310 Northern Avenue (Parcel X) to stimulate thousands of jobs, build new innovation center on the South Boston Waterfront
Work: Thousands of permanent jobs, hundreds of construction jobs, new seafood facility for marine tenants to grow businesses, ground floor retail space
Connect: 50,000 SF of public realm space, protects needs of industrial and marine industrial businesses which have historically operated in the marine park, storage for 338 bikes, contribute to City’s bikeshare program, close proximity to Silver Line
Sustain: Sea level rise resilient, $250,000 in resiliency funding per year
Located in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (RLFMP), this project will redevelop 310 Northern Avenue, also known as Parcel X, into two new research and development buildings on the South Boston Waterfront. The project will also build a new seafood processing center on a portion of the Massport Marine Terminal site, to relocate two seafood processing businesses that are currently on Parcel X. This will allow the redevelopment of the site into a new innovation center, while preserving maritime industrial business. The new seafood processing facility, which will go through its own separate Article 80 process, will allow the seafood tenants to significantly extend their ground lease term (securing their future within the RLFMP), and modernize their operations. In support of resiliency goals, this project will elevate a portion of the current site, and raise the first floor of the new building elevation, and key outdoor public spaces by approximately three feet to protect against future sea level rise. In addition, the project will participate in the BPDA’s newly created Climate Resiliency Infrastructure Fund, which will provide private-sector funding to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise for the RLFMP. Bike parking will be provided on site to encourage biking as an alternative form of transportation for employees.
Project at 51 Melcher Street in Fort Point to create hundreds of jobs at new life science development
Live: $245,000 towards community improvements
Work: Creation of approximately 100 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs
Connect: ¼ mile to South Station, Melcher Street ADA sidewalk improvements
Sustain: LEED Gold Certified, Flood resiliency
A building in Fort Point that was being used as office space will be converted for life science use, preserving the historic building and protecting it from sea level rise. The renovation and conversion project, which will result in the creation of approximately 101 construction jobs and an estimated 304 permanent jobs, will also renovate the area’s sidewalk and streetscape. This will allow the project to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. The project will also contribute $60,000 to local scholarship funds to support Boston high school students and $45,000 towards local arts organizations intended to be used for public art installations.
Vacant building to become new hotel at 7-9 Hamilton Place in Downtown Crossing
Live: 80 hotel rooms, ground floor cafe, rooftop amenity space
Work: Approximately 40 construction jobs, 25 hotel staffing jobs, commercial space
Connect: Close proximity to MBTA, onsite bike storage
Sustain: Committed to exploring the use of Mass Timber in building
This new development at 7-9 Hamilton Place in Downtown Crossing will convert what is currently a vacant building into a twelve-story, 80 room hotel, while preserving the original historical facade from the 1870s. This transit-oriented project is located in close proximity to the MBTA’s Green, Red, and Orange Lines, and includes bike parking onsite. The project will also contribute $50,000 to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the Bluebikes program. The first floor of the building will include an entry court into the building, a café, a lobby with a concierge and administrative office, a bike room, and a back of house kitchen area. Floors 4-11 will include hotel rooms, and the twelfth floor will include amenity space for guests. This project will also explore the possibility of using Mass Timber when building. As part of the community benefits for the hotel, the project will contribute $50,000 to the Parks and Recreation Department in support of improvements to the Granary Building Ground, as well as $25,000 to the Holocaust Legacy Foundation in support of the Foundation’s programming.
Columbia Crossing project at 568-574 Columbia Road to build new affordable housing development in Dorchester
Live: 48 income-restricted units, majority 2-3 bedrooms, artist housing will make up 20 percent of units
Work: Commercial, arts, and cultural space, shared resident work spaces, will support Strand Theater and Upham’s Corner Arts and Innovation District
Connect: Close proximity to several MBTA bus routes, 48 bike parking spaces
Sustain: 100 percent electric, net-zero ready
Located in Upham’s Corner, this project at 568-574 Columbia Road in Dorchester, also known as Columbia Crossing, will build a six story addition onto what is now the Dorchester Savings Banks, to create a mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development project that will preserve and adaptively reuse the historic bank building. The majority of the units are two and three bedrooms, and 20 percent of the units will be allocated as artist housing in support of the planned Upham’s Corner Arts and Innovation District. The development will also include commercial space, as well as arts amenity space for residents. In support of carbon neutral goals, this project will create an energy efficient building that incorporates measures to reduce impacts on the environment, including a building envelope that minimizes the building’s energy needs and all electric mechanical systems.
9-19 Vaughan Street project to bring new housing to Dorchester
Live: 45 residential units, 10 income-restricted units
Work: $40,000 to fund local community organizations
Connect: Ground floor space for community meetings, bike storage, close proximity to MBTA, subsidized tenant T passes, support rideshare and carpooling program
Sustain: Green roof, LEED certified
This project in Dorchester will build a new multi-family housing development made up of 45 units in multiple buildings on Vaughan Avenue. Ten units will be income-restricted. There will be 45 bike parking spaces for residents on site, as well as more for visitors. As part of the benefits to the community, this project will improve the public realm with new street trees, sidewalks, and safety improvements for bikers and pedestrians. This will be a transit-oriented development, as it is in close proximity to several MBTA routes, the project is committing to offering subsidized MBTA passes to residents, and also to support a ridesharing/carpooling program for residents. The project will also contribute $12,375 to support the City’s bikeshare program, and install a Bluebikes station on site. There will also be availability on the ground floor of the rear building for community meetings. In support of local community organizations, this project will contribute $40,000 to be disbursed to the Friends of Geneva Cliff Association, Holland Park Community Center, and the Haitian Multi-Service Community Center.
Development at 66 Geneva Avenue to create new homeownership opportunities
Live: 50 residential units, eight income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 57 construction jobs
Connect: New MBTA bus shelter, raised pedestrian crossings
Sustain: Rooftop solar installation
A new five-story residential building on Geneva Avenue in Roxbury will create 50 homeownership units, eight of which will be income-restricted. The building will be a mix of studios, one, two, and three bedroom units. This project responds to the goals of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan (RSMP) of providing a wide range of housing opportunities by proposing 100 percent homeownership condos, with 16 percent of the units designated as income-restricted. It further advances the RSMP’s goals of promoting a diverse and sustainable economy by proactively hiring local, minority and women-owned businesses in the development of this project. As part of the community benefits for this project, it will contribute $50,000 to Boston Parks & Recreation in support of nearby parks and open space. This project will also support the bikeshare system with a contribution of $14,025 to the Boston Transportation Department. Public realm improvements will include a new bus shelter at bus stop #567, a new raised crosswalk across Geneva Avenue to improve pedestrian safety, and wider sidewalks around the project site.
Live: 79 apartments, 14 income-restricted units, access to rooftop garden
Work: Retail space, subsidized units for startups
Connect: Bluebikes station, close proximity to Roxbury Crossing MBTA station and several bus routes
Sustain: LEED Gold, 100 percent renewable energy, all efficient electric
Located in Mission Hill, this project will build a new six-story residential building with ground floor retail space. The building will be made up of 79 units, 14 of which will be income-restricted, and made up of micro studios, one, two, and three bedroom units. Onsite vehicle parking will include ten EV charging stations and the bike parking will include ten electric bike charging stations. Public realm improvements at this site will include the replacements of deteriorated sidewalks, wider sidewalks, and new street trees. This will be a transit-oriented development being in close proximity to the MBTA, and with the addition of a new Bluebikes station onsite. In addition, this project will contribute $49,000 to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the City’s bikeshare system. There will also be a dedicated bike storage room in the building. In support of open space, the project will make a contribution of $79,000 to Boston Parks and Recreation. The project will also make a $127,537 contribution to the Boston Transportation Department to support the recommendations of the Terrace Street Study, which is currently underway.
In addition to these projects, the Board approved:
An update to a previously approved project at 104 Canal Street to increase the number of hotel rooms from 90 to 98, and reduce the size of the originally planned cafe.
The fourth amendment to the Boston Children’s Hospital Institutional Master Plan, which removes a portion of the building at 819 Beacon Street, which is privately owned, from the Institutional Master Plan.