BPDA Adopts PLAN: East Boston, Approves New Developments

103 North Beacon Street

Boston – The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) board of directors recently adopted East Boston Tomorrow, the PLAN: East Boston vision report, at its monthly meeting, after five years of planning work and engagement with the community. The board also approved several planning initiatives and zoning amendments, and six new development projects that will support approximately 1,150 construction jobs and 1,080 permanent jobs.

PLAN: East Boston focuses on increasing affordable housing in the neighborhood, climate change preparedness, enhanced mobility and transit options, support for local businesses, and zoning recommendations to facilitate predictable and contextual growth. These goals cover residential areas, squares and corridors, and waterfront and evolving industrial areas throughout East Boston. The board also approved zoning recommendations, which will now go to the Zoning Commission for consideration.

Development Projects

The 376-384A Blue Hill Avenue project will convert what is currently vacant city-owned land on Blue Hill Avenue into 18 income-restricted homeownership opportunities for residents in Dorchester. There will also be retail and community space for residents on the ground floor. The project will improve the public realm with better lighting and new street trees. The project will be LEED Gold.

The 495 Dorchester Avenue project includes two buildings: a 16-story building with 237 housing units, and a 7-story building with 94 income-restricted units for seniors. Along with commercial retail space, there will be open space and amenities for residents including senior-specific services. The project complies with flood district requirements in support of the city’s climate resilience goals.

Located in Allston, the 103 North Beacon Street project will build a new mixed-use building with life science and retail space. This new development will replace what is currently a commercial building and parking lot. The project will add green space to the site and incorporate design elements to improve on-site stormwater management and reduce the risk of flooding. It will also be built to reduce heat island impact in the neighborhood.

The 39 Dalton Street project in Back Bay, also known as Belvidere Street Student Housing, will convert the South Tower of the Sheraton Boston Hotel into student housing for Northeastern University. This tower will be separated from the rest of the Sheraton Hotel to serve only students. The third floor will be converted into laundry, fitness, study/lounge areas, and resident life services for the students. In addition, the public realm on site will be improved with a variety of seating options.

The 287 Western Avenue project will revitalize an underutilized site in Allston and help return jobs and revenue to the neighborhood through its mix of uses. The ground level of this approximately 90,000sf office and research and development building is intended to be a co-working and meeting space for the public while the site will continue to be home to an EMS substation. There will be a large, publicly accessible plaza as part of the public realm improvements for this project.

The 1334 Dorchester Avenue project on Dorchester Avenue will demolish and reconstruct portions of the existing retail, storage, and office facility. It will maintain the character and extent of operations and structures existing at the site. This project site is in front of an MBTA bus stop, with the Fields Corner T stop about a half mile away, along with other bus lines. Architecturally, the project will enhance the building’s appearance with a new facade and greenspace.

Additionally, the BPDA Board approved a text amendment to the Zoning Code regarding stadiums and public amphitheater open space. The Stadium Open Space subdistrict would create a new stadium and public amphitheater zoning district in order to enable greater investment and more amenities in appropriate areas of the city’s current and future open spaces. This subdistrict is currently proposed to apply to East Boston Memorial Stadium and White Stadium in Franklin Park. This new zoning will allow these areas to function optimally as community resources and enable future investment.

The BPDA board also approved the Allston Brighton Needs Assessment Report. The report is the result of ten months of research and engagement in uplifting and assessing the community’s assets and needs across the neighborhoods of Allston and Brighton. The report identifies the gaps that exist today, and how future development in Allston-Brighton provides significant opportunity. The board also approved a consultant contract to create that comprehensive Community Plan for the neighborhoods, focused on the next 3-10 years.

The board also approved:

  • The Notice of Project Change at 100-114 Hampden Street to reconfigure interior space and modify the programming with a more diverse mix of retail on the ground level.
  • The Notice of Project Change at 804 East Seventh Street to reduce the number of units, reconfigure the interior of the building, and for a change of ownership.
  • The disbursement of a total of $200,000 from the Harvard-Allston Partnership Fund to 26 non-profit community organizations throughout the city.