BRA Board Approves $136 Million in New Projects

Boston – The board of directors for the Boston Redevelopment Authority has approved six new development projects, which represent a combined investment of $136.3 million that will result in over 400,000sf of development and an estimated 355 construction jobs

In addition, the Boston Renewal Authority has granted final designation to a local development group to construct a hotel and residences along Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury.

Whittier Street Housing

Whittier Street public housing will be redeveloped, adding more units and a growing mix of incomes. The total project cost is $44 million for 111,000sf of improvements.

The project will create a total of 387 mixed-income rental units. The first phase will result in 83 new units, and subsequent phases call for the redevelopment of all 200 low-income units.

When complete, the new development will include over 7,600sf of commercial space, public open space, and a recreation area. A fitness room, lounges, and community rooms are also planned. New street trees, benches, sidewalks, and lighting will help revitalize the surrounding streets, and residents will have access to bicycle parking as well as 121 underground parking spots.

The Madison Park Development Corporation

The Madison Park Development Corporation (MPD) will build 92,179sf of new housing along Melnea Cass in Lower Roxbury at a cost of $37 million. MPD will add 76 units of housing in Lower Roxbury.

Already the operator of Madison Park Village, which was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s along Melnea Cass Boulevard, the nonprofit will construct two new buildings on nearby infill sites. Designed by Elton + Hampton Architects, the Madison Park Infill project will be composed of a four-story building with 16 units and a five-story building with 60 units located just southwest of the Ruggles MBTA Orange Line station.

Most, if not all, of the 76 units will be marketed as affordable housing thanks to Low Income Housing Tax Credits that the developer has secured.

Center Plaza, Boston

Center Plaza will undergo sweeping renovation that includes new lobbies and a penthouse addition including approximately 30,000sf of new space at a cost of $25 million.

The building will receive a major facelift as part of a broad improvement plan being led by property owner Shorenstein.

Highlights include new lobbies and passageways between three buildings and a 21,000sf penthouse addition that will provide more office space and a rooftop garden. A 9,400sf addition will be constructed on the ground floor and mezzanine levels. Shorenstein and CBT Architects have designed the new Center Plaza to be LEED Gold certifiable through the US Green Building Council.

New Housing in West Roxbury

New housing of 49,000sf will be developed on a former manufacturing site in West Roxbury at a cost of $10 million.

A series of outdated, abandoned, and burned-out former light-industrial buildings at the corner of LaGrange and Centre Streets will soon come down under a proposal approved by the BRA. Developer Michael Argiros of Charles River Realty plans to demolish a shuttered factory and construct a three-story residential building with 48 apartments, six of which will be designated as affordable.

The Victorian style multi-family building at 425 LaGrange Street will be designed by Neshamkin French Architects. The project will contain eight studios, 22 one-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom, and two three-bedroom units.

The developer hopes to break ground by March 2016 and complete the project by July 2017.

Housing Project in South Boston

A $8.25 million housing project near South Boston’s Broadway Station will have a photography studio and some retail space.

A one-story structure at the corner of West Fourth Street and A Street in South Boston will be demolished to make way for a six-story project that will include nine residential units, a two-floor photography studio, ground-floor retail space, and off-street parking. 33 A Street Development won approval to construct the new building, which will have one four-bedroom unit, six three-bedroom units, and two two-bedroom units. Eight units will be rental apartments, while one will be occupied by the property owner. The project was designed by Embarc Studio.

Storage Facility Approved

Raymond Schneider, the owner of Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa on Southampton Street in Newmarket, received BRA approval to build a new storage facility at a cost of $12 million.

Boston Self Storage will be an 83,500sf facility with flexible storage space for customers. By incorporating sustainable design features, such as an energy-efficient water system and environmentally friendly materials, the developer hopes to achieve LEED Silver certification.

The project will also include 19,000sf of fabrication space for local entrepreneurs for experimental manufacturing.

Melnea Partners to Develop Hotel and Residences

An important parcel in the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan is closer to being redeveloped after the BRA board granted final designation to Melnea Partners, LLC, a collaborative being led by the local design and development firm Urbanica, as the developer for Parcel 9. It is jointly owned by the BRA and the Mass. Department of Transportation and will be redeveloped as the 126,400sf Melnea Hotel and Residence at a project cost of $38 million.

The project includes a 108-room hotel, 50 units of rental housing, and 8,000sf of retail space.

The development team hopes to begin construction of the hotel and residences by the end of this year, with the hotel slated for completion in spring 2017 and the residential units that summer.

Boston Children’s Hospital to Construct New Pedestrian Bridge

Boston Children’s Hospital received approval to amend its Institutional Master Plan in order to build a new pedestrian bridge over Longwood Avenue. The 3,250sf connector will link the patient and family parking garage with the hospital’s main building. A new concierge desk in the garage will process patient discharges, and visitors will have access to valet service.

The steel-and-glass bridge was designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects to be visually unobtrusive to passersby on Longwood Avenue. Children’s Hospital will create a pocket park outside the historic Hunnewell Building and make landscaping improvements along Longwood Avenue and Blackfan Street. Lighting will also be installed to better showcase the Hunnewell Building and its historic character. An existing concrete pedestrian bridge that spans Blackfan Street will be removed.