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News & Updates

BPDA Board takes actions to modernize development review process, new projects that will create thousands of jobs

Jun 15, 2023

More than 1 million square feet of zero net carbon development moves forward

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved seven new development projects representing 1.3 million square feet (SF). The new projects will create 123 residential units, 51 of which, or 41 percent, will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 1,182 construction jobs and 2,673 permanent jobs. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.

Development Review Process Modernization

Today, the BPDA Board approved consulting services to modernize the review and approval of large scale development in the City of Boston. The development review process, known as Article 80, has not been comprehensively analyzed or updated since its adoption in 1996. The modernization project will study the existing development review process operations and recommend improvements for how communities, developers, and the BPDA work together to more predictably shape development in the city. This will not impact development projects that are currently under review by the BPDA while the study is ongoing and any recommended changes to these processes, which come out of the studies, will go through community and BPDA Board review prior to implementation.

The Board also approved changes to Article 28 to improve the participation of the Boston Civic Design Commission in the review process. The changes will bring greater diversity of expertise to the Commission, allow the BCDC to be better integrated with the BPDA’s internal review process, and ensure that review can be provided on an efficient timeline. Ultimately, these changes reflect concrete steps to help us achieve better design outcomes for the people of Boston.

Third, the Board approved the hiring of an ombudsman to streamline the citywide permitting process following development project Board approvals and ensure good housing projects can come onto the market more quickly.

BPDA Board awards tentative designation of Parcel U in Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park

The BPDA Board tentatively designated Lincoln Property Company and QuakerLane Capital to redevelop BPDA-owned Parcel U in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (RLFMP) on the South Boston Waterfront. The original Request for Proposals (RFP) for this site asked development teams to submit two program proposals: Program B, which includes a single company, two-floor firehouse, to better serve the RLFMP and the greater South Boston Seaport neighborhood, and Program A which does not include this space. The RFP also encouraged proposals to further the BPDA’s commitment to promote maritime economic development and the retention and creation of job opportunities in the RLFMP. The selected team proposes a new nine-story building with office and laboratory space. The project also includes life science training space within the facility. If the BPDA decides to move forward under Program B, the proposed building will include a two-floor firehouse on the ground floor and first floor. Following this tentative designation, the BPDA will work with the developer to identify the preferred program for development. Like all BPDA-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the selected development team is required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criterion, and has established significant commitments to includeMinority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) across all aspects of their development.

Development Projects

20 and 22 Drydock Avenue project on South Boston Waterfront moves forward to build new life science space with millions of dollars in public benefits

Live: 35,000 square feet of public open space, improved pedestrian experience, secure bicycle storage and shower facilities
Work: Approximately 1,059 permanent jobs, approximately 396 construction jobs, majority of project design team is made up of M/WBE firms, endowment for job training
Connect: Close proximity to public transportation, Bluebikes station, onsite teaching lab and classroom for Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, $12 million in public benefits
Sustain: Reduced heat island effect, LEED Platinum, carbon neutral building operations for first three years, onsite renewable energy generation using rooftop solar, targeting five percent reduction in embodied carbon, reduced indoor water use

Two individual parcels in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (RLFMP), which were formerly occupied by offices of the Economic Development Industrial Corporation of Boston, as well as marine industrial tenants, will be combined into one parcel with a new seven-story research laboratory and office building. The ground floor will include a state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom space for the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute. The space will serve as a satellite location for marine research, facilitate teaching opportunities, and provide access to local students and community groups. By providing this space, this project supports the RLFMP’s mission to provide a reserve for marine industrial activity. The primarily life science and research and development uses of this site are also consistent with a goal of the Master Plan Update to encourage new economic uses. Like all developers of BPDA-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the selected development team is required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criterion, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process. Of the current team members, approximately 60 percent are M/WBE firms. The project is also working with In Order Business Development Solutions to continue its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives throughout construction.

Public benefits from this project include more than $3 million in linkage funding, with more than $525,000 going towards affordable housing and $2.8 million toward jobs training. In addition, this project will provide an improved public realm by creating new landscaped plazas, and improved sidewalks for pedestrians. In the way of transportation improvements, this project will provide parking for 131 bikes onsite, as well as a new Bluebikes dock, and a contribution of more than $90,000 to the Boston Transportation Department. The project will also contribute $1.4 million to the BPDA for transportation improvements identified in the RLFMP to mitigate the project’s transportation impacts, as well as $400,000 to support Seaport water shuttle services. In addition, more than a dozen nonprofit organizations will receive more than $3 million in funding from this project.

Development at 155 North Beacon Street in Allston will create three new life science buildings with retail space, contribute complete building for affordable artist rehearsal space

Live: $4,029,155 in housing linkage
Work: Life science and retail space, approximately 516 construction jobs, approximately 1,249 permanent jobs
Connect: Realignment of Life and Etna Streets, public bike facilities, more than 30,000 SF of public open space
Sustain: 100 percent renewable energy, LEED Gold

This project in Allston/Brighton will build three new life science buildings. Building one will be six stories consisting of life science and retail space. Building two will be a six-story building containing office and lab space. The third building will contain office, life science, and retail space. In addition, there will be more than 30,000 square feet of public open space on campus. All buildings will be LEED Gold certified. As part of the public realm improvements for this project, Life and Etna Streets will be realigned, a new Bluebikes dock will be installed onsite, and the project will contribute $148,570 to the Boston Transportation Department. Public benefits of this project include: new lab classrooms and STEM training at Brighton High School, as well as more than $4 million in linkage payments, with $3.9 million going towards affordable housing, and $718,257 towards jobs training.

This site was originally home to a long-standing rehearsal and recording space for musicians and other performing artists in the Greater Boston area. The building accommodated hundreds of working artists for rehearsal, recording, storage and other activities related to their disciplines. As part of the community benefit and mitigation package for this project, the owner will transfer ownership of the 290 N. Beacon Street site to the BPDA for redevelopment for rehearsal space and other uses, achieving no net loss of cultural space. The 290 North Beacon Street building will be the largest mitigation package the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the BPDA have received to help support the arts and culture community in Boston. Following the acquisition, the BPDA, in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, will start the disposition process of the property to facilitate the creation of affordable rehearsal space and other compatible uses for displaced artists. Community engagement for a Request for Proposals for the renovation of this site into artist workspace will likely begin later this summer. The RFP visioning process will be open to all, through which the BPDA will be soliciting feedback to help guide the development objectives for the site.

Phase 4 of Garrison Trotter Project moves forward in Roxbury, offering primarily-affordable homeownership opportunities on BPDA owned land

Live: 23 homeownership units, 19 single family homes
Work: Local MBE developer, approximately 33 construction jobs
Connect: Fourth phase of Garrison Trotter neighborhood rebuild
Sustain: Energy efficient building, LEED Silver

Phase 4 of the Garrison Trotter Development will build 23 new homes, the majority of which (16) will be made affordable homeownership units. These will be a mix of single-family, stacked two-family, and semi-detached two-family unit types, and a mix of two and three-bedroom units. As part of this project, Harold Street will reopen to further connect the new development to the existing neighborhood. This development is on BPDA-owned land, which was tentatively designated to Windale Developers, Inc. in May of 2022. Like all developers of BPDA-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the selected development team is required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criterion, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process.

521-523 Cambridge Street project brings 33 transit-oriented residential units to Allston

Live: 33 residential units, 5 income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 32 construction jobs
Connect: 97 walk score, 80 bike score
Sustain: All-electric building systems

This project will create a six-story, 33-unit residential building in Allston. It will have six studios, eighteen 1-bedroom units, seven 2-bedroom units, two 3-bedroom units, and residential amenity space. Five units will be income-restricted. Located within the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study, this is a transit-oriented development that will place residents near the MBTA Green Line, multiple bus routes, and half a mile from the Commuter Rail. The project will also contribute to the area’s overall walkability, which has a large commercial area nearby, and add green space to Cambridge Street. New tenants will receive a $300 voucher toward an alternative transportation method of their choosing: MBTA passes, a Bluebikes membership, or a ride-share program. A temporary bike lane will be painted while the project is under construction. There will also be a dedicated bike storage room.

Project will bring 22 income-restricted homeownership opportunities to 114-122 Harvard Street and 18-24 Standish Street in Dorchester

Live: 22 income-restricted homeownership units
Work: Retail space, approximately 26 construction jobs
Connect: 22 bike storage spots, close proximity to Commuter Rail and multiple bus routes
Sustain: Built to Passive House Design Standards

This project will turn vacant lots into two buildings with a total of 22 income-restricted condominium units and retail space in Dorchester. The units will be aimed at moderate income households with seven units restricted to 80 percent AMI, eight units restricted to 90 percent AMI, and the remaining seven units restricted at 100 percent AMI. Between the two buildings, there will be eight 3-bedroom units, nine 2-bedroom units, and five 1-bedroom units. Collectively, the buildings will have almost 6,000 square feet of open green/patio space available for residents, along with outdoor and indoor bike parking spaces. It is a transit-oriented project located just blocks away from the Talbot Avenue Commuter Rail stop and the MBTA 14, 23, and 22 bus routes. A new pedestrian-friendly sidewalk will also be created along Harvard Street. This project fully aligns with PLAN: Mattapan by providing multi-family housing close to public transit and creating homeownership opportunities.

Project moves forward to bring apartments, improved streetscape to 34 B Street in South Boston

Live: 45 apartments, including 8 income-restricted units
Work: Approximately 40 construction jobs
Connect: Bike parking, activate the end of 6th streetscape for public use
Sustain: Energy efficient appliances

This project will transform an auto body shop and a vacant lot into a six-story residential development with 45 apartments. Eight of the units will be income-restricted. There will also be a 2,200 square foot rooftop terrace. The project will have at least 45 bike parking spaces and an additional 12 bike spots for visitors. The location of this project is within the boundaries of PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue and the PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue Transportation Plan. This area is intended to serve as a transition zone between South Boston’s residential neighborhood and the higher density mixed-use areas along Dorchester Avenue. The project complies with the height, use, and lot coverage requirements established in the Plan, as well as the urban design guidelines. It will create curb extensions at the intersection of B Street and West Fifth Street, add at least two street trees, and widen the sidewalks on B Street. A contribution of $25,000 will be made to the Tierney Learning Center on Mercer Street in South Boston. The project will also contribute $12,375 to the Boston Transportation Department in support of the Bluebikes system.

Project at 55 Summer Street will renovate Downtown building, redesign public plaza

Live: Plaza improvements, bike parking, Bluebikes contribution
Work: Approximately 362 permanent jobs, approximately 139 construction jobs
Connect: Close proximity to public transportation
Sustain: LEED Silver, preservation of tree canopy

The project at 55 Summer Street in the Downtown neighborhood would renovate the existing building and convert the upper floors from office space to research laboratory and office space. It will also include the redesign of the public plaza onsite and more than $500,000 in improvements to the public realm. This will include the maintenance of the existing tree canopy, a new covered bike shed, and a pedestrian ramp. Public realm improvements were also reviewed in alignment with the ongoing PLAN: Downtown planning study. The project is in conformance with the underlying zoning and the development standards presented in the Life Science Building Design Guidelines. It also will support the existing nature and future growth of Downtown. In addition, this project will support the City’s bikeshare program with a $75,000 contribution to the Boston Transportation Department. As part of the public benefits of this project, it will also support nearby St. Anthony’s Shrine with a $25,000 donation. In addition, this project will contribute more than $60,000 in linkage fees, with $51,350 towards affordable housing and $9,440 towards jobs training.

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