BPDA Approves new Housing, Museum in Brighton and Downtown

15 Washington Street

Boston – The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) board of directors recently approved two new development projects that will create 229 residential units, 41 of which will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 352 construction jobs and 97 permanent jobs.

The project at 125 Tremont Street will build a new all-electric, 6-story building to serve as the first of its kind Holocaust museum and educational center in Boston. The physical building will be developed with materials designed to protect its occupants and visitors, the surrounding neighborhood, and the sensitive and irreplaceable contents within. The project advances PLAN: Downtown draft recommendations for uses, public realm, and urban design. The project is intended to activate the area, while affirming its distinct historic and cultural identity. By replacing a previously inactive corner with a new museum and educational programming, the project will advance PLAN: Downtown’s cultural planning goals. The project will contribute public realm improvements in an area of high pedestrian traffic and limited sidewalk space, including public art and outdoor gathering space.

125 Tremont Street

At 15 Washington Street in Brighton, what is currently a Whole Foods grocery store will be redeveloped into 229 new rental and homeownership units, 41 of which will be income-restricted, and a new Whole Foods on site, which will be slightly relocated. The project will retain the existing grocery store and contribute to achieving citywide housing goals while also improving the public realm. The existing parking lot onsite will be converted into this new mixed-use site with protected bike infrastructure, new street trees, publicly accessible open space, and housing. The project will also make significant improvements to the public realm, including new sidewalks, a raised crosswalk, a reconstructed MBTA bus stop, and new bike lanes in the vicinity of the project site.

The board also approved amendments to the zoning code to create the Newmarket 21st Century Industrial District as a result of the PLAN: Newmarket planning initiative. The board adopted PLAN: Newmarket in August 2023, which recommends bolstering the area’s mix of industrial and innovative uses to support the district as a hub for jobs for Boston residents. The plan prioritizes preservation and production of new ground floor spaces that serve Newmarket’s traditional industrial uses, specifically businesses focused on production, distribution, repair, and the creative economy. As a direct result of this plan, the Zoning Text Amendments and Zoning Map changes implement these recommendations in the Zoning Code. Three new subdistricts are proposed within the Newmarket 21st Century Industrial District: Core Industrial Subdistrict, Gateway Industrial Subdistrict, and Creative Industrial Subdistrict.

The board also approved amendments to Article 80B-2.5 of the zoning code, which outlines criteria for waiving project review requirements for certain affordable housing projects. The waiver applies if the proposed affordable housing project doesn’t cause significant adverse effects beyond its lot, and meets specific criteria outlined by the Authority (is in a Planned Development Area, 121A or Urban Renewal Area). With this amendment, there would be no boundary limitations on this waiver request. This would allow the BPDA to consider waiver requests more broadly, and allow for more affordable housing to be built, more quickly. This is an integral part of fulfilling Mayor Wu’s executive order to streamline the approval of affordable housing.