News & Updates

Planners Get out the Word

Apr 26, 2012

Members of the Planning Division shared news of development in several of Boston's neighborhoods including the South End, Fenway, and Downtown Crossing. 
  • 40 residents from the South End, Back Bay, and Bay Village learned the latest on Boston's development and planning from Deputy Director of Community Planning, Randi Lathrop.
    • 5-10 St. George Street - 33 residential units are under construction.
    • 1672 Washington Street - 9 residential units are expected to break ground this spring on one of the last available parcels on Washington Street in the South End.
    • 275 Albany Street - a parking lot will become a hotel with residential units and retail.
    • The former Boston Herald headquarters will be transformed into a mixed-use development, Ink Block.
    • The Harrison-Albany Corridor has been rezoned to harness growth opportunities, particularly in significantly underutilized and vacant parcels.
      • 20% of the project’s residential units must qualify as affordable housing if built on an acre or more according to the Mayor's Inclusionary Development Program OR
      • 5% of the bonus SF must be provided on site to a cultural group OR
      • 5% of the bonus SF must a) be provided on site to a start-up business or b) its equivalent value must be provided to a program/loan fund.
      • Combination of the above.
    • Last year, the BRA Board approved the Christian Science Plaza PDA Master Plan for the long-term revitalization and development of the 15-acre plaza.  The processes will be completed this year.  The Church will begin advertising for developers.


Community Planner, Jonathan Greeley, moderated the panel "What's Driving Development?" for the Urban Land Institute.  The panel focused on planning and development on the Fenway over the past decade.  Panelists included Brian Kavoogian of Charles River Realty Investors, Sarah Hamilton of MASCO, Peter Sougarides of Samuels & Associates, and Charles Weinstein of Children's Hospital. With the leadership of Mayor Menino, the BRA and neighborhood stakeholders have revitalized one of Boston's greatest neighborhoods, the Fenway.  Its edges are defined by Fenway Park and the Longwood Medical Area (LMA).  Six million people visit Fenway every year, and $346 million is spent annually on tickets, food, and beverages.  The LMA is a national leader in medical research and is home to 43,000 employees, 19,000 students, with more than 1 million patient visits per year.  Each day the number of people who visit the LMA could fill Fenway Park three times. But, the Fenway has become much more than baseball and hospitals.  The BRA's planning efforts for the Fenway, completed in 2004, laid the groundwork for today's development, which includes a more pedestrian and bike friendly streetscape, more ground floor retail, more affordable housing units and home ownership opportunities, and A Civic Vision for Turnpike Air Rights, air rights from Chinatown through Allston.  Because of this planning, the Fenway has emerged as a mixed-use, 18-hour neighborhood. With the addition of Trilogy and 1330 Boylston Street, nearly 800 residential units have been added to the Fenway.  A Marriott Residence Inn (175 rooms) is under construction at 121 Brookline Ave., and the $13.5M reconstruction of the MBTA Yawkey Station is underway, too.  At least three more mixed-use projects totaling $900M are in the pipeline.


As the winner of the International Downtown Association's Pinnacle Award, the BRA hosted a Best Practices webinar to share the successes of  Downtown Crossing's redevelopment.  Planner and Urban Designer, Andrew Grace, led the web seminar and presented the best practices of one of the greatest urban renaissances of the 21st century. The BRA and area stakeholders spent two years creating an Identity & Branding Strategy, including the formation of Boston's first Business Improvement District.  This resulted in
  • more than $350M in new investment in the district;
  • new zoning regulations and illustrative design review requirements for all signs and storefront modifications;
  • aesthetic and operational upgrades to the pushcart vending program;
  • a renewed pedestrian zone including new regulations and signage; and
  • a comprehensive interim public art program promoting the brand.  
Downtown Crossing is home to over 1.3M SF of retail space, and 250,000 people pass through daily.

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