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225 Centre Building Adds 103 Rental Units in Jackson Square, More to Follow

2 Nov 2013, 11:29 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The intersection of Columbus Avenue and Centre Street, an underutilized section in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, is going through some major changes. Four decades after much of the area was bulldozed to make room for a highway expansion program that was never built, city officials and development partners last week celebrated an important milestone of an ambitious, $250 million redevelopment project of the Jackson Square community that will serve as a gateway between Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.

225 Centre – Jackson Square Boston

An official ceremony marked the grand opening of 225 Centre, which is the first phase of the 14-building revitalization project that broke ground in May 2012. Developed by 225 Centre LLC—a joint venture between Boston-based The Community Builders (TCB), the country’s largest non-profit developer, co-developer Mitchell Properties and contractor Walsh Brothers—and with substantial help from city, state and local officials, the $52 million mixed-income rental building is located close to the Jackson Square MBTA Station and just minutes away from downtown Boston via public transit, bike and car.

The six-story 225 Centre is the largest of the 14 buildings envisioned in the Jackson Square redevelopment plan and was designed by local architecture firm ADD, Inc. to achieve LEED Silver certification. It includes 68 market rate apartments with rents ranging from $1,700 to $2,850 per month and 35 affordable housing units—of which 10 will be occupied by tenants who are formerly homeless—an underground parking garage with 86 spaces, as well as four commercial/retail spaces totaling more than 16,000 square feet on the ground floor. Residents have access to a state-of–the art fitness center and on-site personal storage spaces.

The opening ceremony for 225 Centre coincided with the groundbreaking of Jackson Commons, which is the second phase of the multi-million redevelopment of Jackson Square. This phase of the project is being developed by Urban Edge and calls for the adaptive reuse and renovation of the 100-year-old Webb Building located at 1542 Columbus Avenue and an adjacent vacant lot and the construction of a new, four-story facility. When completed, Jackson Commons will offer 37 mixed-income rental units and approximately 13,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, part of which will serve as headquarters for Urban Edge.

Rendering courtesy of The Community Builders

Construction at Northeastern’s GrandMarc Student Dorm is 50 Percent Completed

28 Oct 2013, 1:04 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

YMCA Greater Boston Building

Construction at Northeastern University’s GrandMarc, a residential building currently under construction behind the YMCA of Greater Boston on Huntington Avenue, has reached its halfway point as the final steel beam was added to the 17-story structure. The topping-off was celebrated last week by President Joseph E. Aoun, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, representatives of Phoenix Property Company and Suffolk Construction and other people affiliated with the project.

GrandMarc broke ground in August 2012 after two years of delays caused by some lawsuits filed by neighbors who did not agree with the site’s zoning plans, Boston.com reported. In an effort to meet the community’s wish to preserve the century-old gymnasium, several weeks before the groundbreaking the YMCA of Greater Boston and Phoenix Property Company reached a mutual beneficial agreement: YMCA of Greater Boston sold a chunk of its real estate—the gymnasium building and the Hastings wing—to Phoenix for $21.5 million, and the original gymnasium located at 316 Huntington Avenue avoided demolition. Furthermore, the agreement stated that Phoenix could start building the student dorm behind the YMCA property and then lease it to Northwestern, which could buy the residence hall at a later date.

GrandMarc Residence Hall

Designed by locally based DiMella Shaffer Architects to achieve LEED Gold certification, the 220,000-square-foot private dorm will accommodate up to 725 first-year students and upperclassmen enrolled at Northwestern. GrandMarc will offer a combination of individual bedrooms and two-bedroom units with shared bathrooms, along with student lounges on each floor and four classrooms located at basement level.

According to an official statement from Northeastern University, besides the $21.5 million spent with the YMCA acquisition, Phoenix invested another $75 million to build this residence hall. The dorm is set for completion in January 2015.

Once open for occupancy, GrandMarc is expected to solve Northeastern’s need for residential space. As reported by The Huntington News, in 2006 the university made a commitment to the city of Boston to add 1,800 beds. In fall 2009 Northeastern opened its International Village, a 480,000-square-foot mixed-use complex that includes 1,200 student beds in more than 1,000 rooms, a dining hall with 450 seats, six classrooms, a five-story administrative office building and nearly 3,500 square feet of retail space. GrandMarc will most probably fill that gap.


YMCA Greater Boston Building image via Google Maps; rendering of GrandMarc Residence Hall courtesy of DiMella Shaffer Architects


Merlin Entertainment Brings Legoland Concept to Greater Boston Area

24 Oct 2013, 2:42 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The first Legoland Discovery Center in the Greater Boston area is currently under construction at the Assembly Row development in Somerville, a much-anticipated neighborhood expected to open in 2014 northeast of Boston.

As reported by the Boston Business Journal, England-based Merlin Entertainments Group and Federal Realty Investment Trust of Rockville, MD, officially broke ground on a new, 44,000-square-foot indoor entertainment facility that will offer interactive Lego experiences for families with children aged 3 to 10.

Set to open in late spring 2014 as part of Merlin’s North American expansion plan, the $2.8 million attraction concept will be the sixth of its kind in the United States—the other Legoland Discovery Centers in the country being located in Chicago (pictured), Atlanta, New York, Dallas/Fort Worth and Kansas City.

Legoland Discovery Center Chicago

Once open, the Somerville venue will have around 100 employees. The site will include a Legoland Discovery Shop, 4D cinema, a Lego Factory Tour experience with an insight into how the popular Lego bricks are made, themed play areas and special party rooms, as well as a Lego Miniland exhibit area that will showcase Lego mini-versions of Boston’s most popular buildings and structures as nominated by the local community.

Owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust since 2005, Assembly Row is a $1.2 billion urban mixed-use project that is being developed on the site of a former Ford Motor factory along the Mystic River. When fully completed, Assembly Row will include 500,000 square feet of retail space, 1.75 million square feet of office space and more than 2,000 residential units designed.


Image via Legoland Discovery Center Chicago Facebook Page

Kavanagh Advisory Group Seeks Approval for R&D Facility

11 Oct 2013, 6:28 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Kavanagh Advisory Group LLC of Danvers, a real estate development and consulting company focused on complex projects in the Boston area, is planning to construct a large-scale research and development facility at the corner of Tide Street and Northern Avenue in the city’s Marine Industrial Park.

According to the Project Notification Form that was recently filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the developer proposes to transform the currently vacant 179,810-square-foot Parcel R located at 316-318 Northern Avenue and owned by the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) into an “innovation square” called 6 Tide Street/One Northern Avenue Place. If approved by the BRA, the site will be redeveloped in three distinct phases and the full build-out will result in a 355,000-square-foot, multi-tenant R&D/manufacturing facility featuring on-site parking that will most probably attract pharmaceutical companies. The $116 million investment will create more than 1,000 new full- and part-time jobs and around 650 construction jobs, the filing revealed.

The development team also includes Commercial Construction Consulting, Inc. of Boston, McPhail Associates, LLC of Cambridge and Transportation Engineering, Planning and Policy of Salem, NH. According to the filing, the team will also remodel a Silver Line stop located on the site and provide further amenities for the growing number of commuters using this line of transportation. Designed by HDR Architects, the four-story building will be seeking LEED certification under USGBC’s LEED for New Construction and Major Renovation.

Parcel R is one of the last vacant sites in the Boston Marine Industrial Park. For more than two decades, until 2008, it was occupied by the J.J. Daly Company, a distributor of stationary and office materials for large companies located in Boston’s financial core.

The proposed R&D facility is being marketed by Avison Young’s principals Karyn McFarland and Kevin Malloy.

Rendering courtesy of Kavanagh Advisory Group 

New City Plan Will Reduce Boston Homelessness by 2016

20 Sep 2013, 5:48 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

After detailing the $16.5 billion “Housing Boston 2020” plan that calls for 30,000 new residential units completed by 2020, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced this week another housing strategy that aims to fight homelessness in Boston.

Named “Bringing Boston Home”, the new plan was put together over the past four years by members of the Leadership Council on Homelessness in an effort to reduce the number of people living on the city’s streets or public shelters by 50 percent by the end of 2016.

There were almost 7,000 homeless people living in shelters, on the street, in transitional housing or enrolled in residential treatment programs at the end of 2012, according to data revealed by the Boston Business Journal. That accounts for approximately 3.2 percent of the total Boston population—a 23 percent drop since 2009—and an extremely small number as compared to other cities its size.

“Bringing Boston Home” will specifically address seven major issues that the city needs to solve:

-          Reduce the number of people living on the streets by half by the end of Fiscal Year 2014;

-          Find permanent shelter for 80 homeless individuals who use the city’s hospital emergency rooms by 2016;

-          Use Boston’s emergency shelter system only for short-term stays, not as a long-term housing solution;

-          Set up a system of regional services and support outside the city to help homeless individuals released from the criminal justice and social service systems find appropriate housing solutions;

-          Reduce the number of families facing eviction for unpaid rent by 25 percent by providing housing subsidies;

-          Allow and support access to educational, skill training and advancement possibilities in order to prevent recurring homelessness and promote long-term stability;

-          Create 225 housing units for homeless people by the end of 2016.

According to Boston.com, the plan already has $2.4 million in available funding, and another $4.9 million will be raised by 2016 through reprioritizing existing resources and attracting further public and private funding.

“We are going to help our most challenged and medically frail homeless off the street; make sure that the mentally ill, ex-offenders, and youth don’t unnecessarily wind up in shelters, and help families in subsidized housing keep their homes, even when unexpected circumstances make it hard to pay rent,” said Mayor Menino in an official statement.

Mayor Menino’s $16.5 Billion Housing Strategy Calls for 30,000 New Units by 2020

14 Sep 2013, 4:11 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Back in March Mayor Thomas M. Menino unveiled an unprecedented plan to increase the number of new housing units in Boston by 30,000 by the year 2020. Last week, with less than four months in office, the Mayor announced the city’s new blueprint for this ambitious strategy that aims to fulfill Boston’s housing needs.

The 48-page report called “Housing Boston 2020” outlines the plan’s priorities, including the use of subsidies to support and promote more affordable housing, building taller residential structures with smaller units and selling city-owned properties and land to developers at reduced prices.

“Boston 2013 is thriving, and well positioned to meet its bright future,” Mayor Menino said. “But one thing has not changed: in order to fulfill its promise, we must stay focused on creating housing, because this is an issue that affects every Boston resident.

Designed as a $16 billion public and private strategy, the mayor’s plan calls for 30,000 new housing units completed by 2020. Twenty-five thousand of these will be private market rate units requiring $10 billion in new investment, while an additional $1.5 billion dollar housing initiative will add 5,000 new units for the middle class.

The plan also outlines the creation of 5,000 new affordable, deed-restricted housing units requiring $2 billion in state and private financing. Another $1.5 billion will finance new graduate student housing for around 10,000 full-time students.

By the end of 2013 the Menino administration plans to:

-           approve building permits for 3,600 market rate units;

-          identify the key-cost drivers for housing developments in Boston and single out those costs that can be influenced by city authorities;

-          find more efficient ways to manage the need for off-street parking;

-          implement BRA’s new smaller unit size standard and encourage the production of micro-apartments;

-       start working with design experts to identify Boston’s growth demographics needs and find new housing approaches and best practices from around the world.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse Seeks Approval for $1 Billion Casino in East Boston

9 Sep 2013, 4:45 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Suffolk Downs, the resort-style property located at 525 McClellan Highway in the Suffolk Downs Economic Development Area in East Boston, could be transformed into a $1 billion gambling establishment according to the Letter of Intent that was filed last week with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

According to The Boston Globe, the property’s owners and developers, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, LLC, hope to obtain a preliminary approval for the project during Mayor Tomas Menino’s pro-casino administration, which will end on November 5.

Estimated to generate around $52 million in annual revenue for the city and more than $33 million in upfront payments, the proposed project will create 4,000 permanent jobs, CBS Boston reports. The Suffolk Downs massive redevelopment is seen as a direct competitor to Wynn Resorts—which has similar plans to build a $1.2 billion gaming resort on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett and win the only state gambling license available in the Greater Boston area.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse’s proposal includes 150,000 to 250,000 square feet of gaming space with up to 6,600 gaming spaces in a combination of slot machines and table games, as well as a World Series of Poker rooms. The project plans also call for two luxury hotels offering 450 rooms, 10 to 17 restaurants and a food court, up to 30,000 square feet of retail space, a seven-story parking garage with 2,600 spaces and an additional valet parking area for up to 460 vehicles, and a central utility plant.

Renderings via Suffolk Downs

New Hotel Proposed in South Boston; Former Four Points Hotel in Leominster Rebranded as DoubleTree by Hilton

25 Aug 2013, 10:09 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Sun Condos LLC, an affiliate of Pappas Enterprises of Boston, is planning to build a 14-story boutique hotel at 6 West Broadway in South Boston, in a highly commercialized area. The site currently serves as a parking lot and, according to data from PropertyShark, measures 0.28 acres.

As described in the Project Notification Form that the developer filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority earlier this month, the new hotel is estimated to cost around $35 million. It will include 156 rooms, a restaurant operated by a local company, meeting rooms, a café, an outdoor terrace and a rooftop pool and lounge.

Designed by VJAArchitects of Minneapolis to achieve LEED certification, the proposed hotel will incorporate construction materials such as glazed white brick and locally manufactured materials that blend in with the traditional building features of the surrounding neighborhood.

If approved by the BRA, the South Boston hotel could break ground in spring 2014 and be completed by fall 2015.

DoubleTree by Hilton Leominster grand lobby

In further hotel news from the region, the former Four Points by Sheraton hotel at 99 Erdman Way in Leominster was recently added to the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. Now operating under the DoubleTree by Hilton flag, the hotel is going through a multi-million dollar renovation but continues to be managed by Driftwood Hospitality Management.

Located 43 miles from Boston Logan International Airport, the hotel has 188 guest rooms and nearly 15,000 square feet of function space, including 13 flexible meeting rooms and a seasonal pavilion for outdoor events.



Image courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels

Boston University Adds 150,000 Sq. Ft. Research Facility to its 2013-2023 Master Plan

20 Aug 2013, 4:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

It’s been another busy week for the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Hot on the heels of Harvard University’s proposal to expand its Allston campus, another higher education institution is asking the city to green light a new sciences and engineering building on a former parking lot along the Charles River.

Several months after filing its 2013-2023 Institutional Master Plan, Boston University decided to amend the plan as it has a need for a new laboratory and research building that would provide additional research space for faculty staff and students enrolled in neuroscience and systems/synthetic biology programs.

As described in the proposal, a new research facility will help the University keep up with the fast progress of life sciences and engineering—particularly with the bioengineering industry, which is growing extremely rapidly.

At 150,000 square feet, the new Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering building will replace a half-acre surface parking lot at 610 Commonwealth Avenue, close to the University’s science and engineering campus. The seven-story building will include an array of research and interdisciplinary collaboration space; the machinery needed to support the new research space will be housed in a mechanical penthouse above the seventh floor.

In 2005 Turner Construction Company completed a Life Science and Engineering building at 24 Cummington Mall, on the south edge of the Boston University Campus. The proposed Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering is just one of the many projects that Boston University plans to develop between now and 2023 at the 11.8 million square foot Back Bay campus. As previously reported, the $750 million Charles River Campus Institutional Master Plan for 2013 to 2023 development projects aims to renovate an existing student housing facility, create two 11-story buildings designed for academic research and expand several buildings.

Image via www.bu.edu

Developers Seek Approval for $140 M Green Mixed-Use Complex in Roxbury

12 Aug 2013, 6:18 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation and Windale Development are looking to redevelop an 8.59-acre urban wasteland in Roxbury into an innovative mixed-use, mixed-income complex that would serve as a link between the thriving Dudley Square area and the historic Fort Hill neighborhood. An expanded Project Notification Form was filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in July and, according to the authority, a community meeting has been called to discuss the filing.

Dubbed Bartlett Place, the complex was designed by Davis Square Architects to be LEED-certifiable for new housing construction (LEED for Homes) and for new commercial construction (LEED-NC). Bartlett Place would be located at 2565 Washington Street, on the site of a former MBTA bus depot and maintenance facility that was purchased by Nuestra in October 2010.

If approved by the BRA, the project will be developed in four phases and will include more than 300 new residential units—around 194 units of affordable rental and homeownership housing and 129 units of market-rate rental and homeownership housing—as well as 355 parking spaces, 54,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, a public events plaza, a public market and public space for interactive art.

If everything goes well in terms of approvals, the developers hope to break ground on Phase I of the project in the fall of 2014 with construction completed by the winter of 2016. This phase calls for a public plaza and two new mixed-use buildings with a combined square footage of 235,000 square feet. Together, the buildings will include more than 100 apartment units and 55,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

The Bartlett Place project will generate 200 to 400 full-time construction jobs, up to 200 temporary jobs and around 200 permanent jobs.

Renderings via the Boston Redevelopment Authority

Harvard Details 10-Year Master Plan for Development in Allston

5 Aug 2013, 9:33 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Harvard University’s six-year effort to map out an expansion of its campus in Allston is finally starting to move forward. Though it’s a far cry from the 50-year, 10 million-square-foot proposal that was originally filed back in 2007 before the economy hit the downward spiral, Harvard’s scaled down plan is still impressive.

Last week the university filed the new Institutional Master Plan (IMP) with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). A draft of the 275-page document was tentatively unveiled to the BRA in October 2012, The Harvard Crimson reports, but the university was asked to adjust it because it did not meet residents’ concerns about the increased traffic that the development would generate in the area along the Charles River.

Harvard’s final IMP outlines nine major projects totaling 1.4 million square feet that, if approved by the city, will be developed over the next 10 years. The highlights of this expansion plan include:

• A new basketball venue with the balance of the site to accommodate additional institutional/mixed-uses. The basketball venue will be 60,000 square feet and will include 3,000 seats, locker rooms, athletics offices and concession areas, while the remaining 250,000 square feet will be filled with institutional affiliate/graduate student housing and/or potential office space.

• A new hotel and conference center with 200 rooms and 26,500 square feet of conference space on the south of the Western Avenue;

• A new Harvard Business School faculty and administrative office building of approximately 110,000 square feet;

• A 300,000-square-foot mixed-use office and retail building called the Gateway Project on the site of the existing Charlesview Apartments, at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue.

Apart from the new construction and renovation projects that support academics, research, hospitality, retail, culture and housing needs of the university campus, the plan was also designed to revitalize the Barry’s Corner area of Allston by improving transportation and streetscape, and creating new gathering and social spaces.

The project team also includes landscape architect Reed Hilderbrand, transportation and parking consultant Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., real estate legal counseling firm Goulston & Storrs, architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross, and CDM Smith serving as construction and engineering consultant. The university hopes to win BRA’s approval by October this year.

Rendering courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority

JV to Build 300,000 Sq. Ft. Mixed-Use Complex in Forest Hills

28 Jul 2013, 11:31 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Forest Hills Arborway, LLC, a joint venture between Beacon Hill-based The Brennan Group and real estate development and investment firm John M. Corcoran Company, is planning to create a 300,000-square foot residential and commercial complex in Jamaica Plain’s Forest Hills area. The development team filed this week a Project Notification Form with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

Dubbed The Commons at Forest Hills, the project will be located at 3593-3615 Washington Street on a 2.8-acre industrial parcel owned by the Arborway Corp., a division of Hughes Oil Company. The Brennan-Corcoran partnership has an option to purchase the site for $3.5 million, according to the Boston Business Journal.

The proposed project calls for four buildings of three to five stories that will include a mix of 280 rental units ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments, 37 of which will be designated affordable housing. Each building will include ground-level commercial/retail space, parking garages at the first level of the buildings totaling 185 parking spots, and 225 bicycle parking spaces in adjacent enclosures.

According to the Project Notification Form, the project was designed by Utile Inc. to achieve LEED Silver certification by using recycled and locally sourced construction materials, and by incorporating high efficiency heating and cooling systems in each apartment unit. A key component for the project’s environmental sustainability is the use of low-VOC paints, sealants and adhesives, which will enhance the indoor air quality. By implementing an individual billing system and using low-flow plumbing fixtures, residents at The Commons at Forest hills will be encouraged to reduce water and energy consumption.

If approved by the BRA, the project could kick off in late spring or early summer 2014, with an estimated completion date set for late 2016.

Rendering courtesy of Forest Hills Arborway, LLC

BRA OK’s New Multifamily Projects from Corcoran Jennison, Trinity Financial

20 Jul 2013, 12:32 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) approved this week several real estate projects that, combined, will bring around 1,200 housing units across Boston.

One of the newly announced projects is The University Place Residences, a $60 million development that will replace a 4.1-acre surface parking lot at 140-150 Mt. Vernon Street, near the University of Massachsetts in the Columbia Point area of Dorchester. According to the Project Notification Form, the development team led by Corcoran Jennison Company, Inc., will have 184 rental apartments, including 24 affordable housing units, and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. In addition, the plans designed by local architecture firm Dimella Shaffer include a below grade garage with 76 parking spaces, as well as a surface parking area for seven vehicles.

The BRA approved a similar housing project that will be developed on a vacant lot on the East Boston waterfront. Developer Trinity Financial plans to invest $80 million to create almost 200 units of for-sale housing—13 percent of which will be affordable—at 102-148 Border Street, between Central Square and the newly redeveloped Maverick Landing. Dubbed Boston East, the development is a joint venture between Trinity and the East Boston Community Development Corporation. As with The University Place Residences, Boston East will include underground parking for 167 vehicles, while the surface parking area will have 26 spaces. Aside from the residential component, Boston East will feature an art gallery suitable for exhibitions and community events.

Designed by ICON architecture, inc. to achieve LEED Silver certification, the 311,428-square-foot construction will reflect a traditional East Boston waterfront structure, with the façade built of traditional building materials.

Construction to Break Ground on Salem’s New MBTA Intermodal Station

21 Jun 2013, 4:30 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) announced it will close its Salem rail station for more than one year as a complex renovation project is underway. As reported by Boston.com, the MBTA Salem station parking lot will be replaced with a $37 million facility, a five-level parking garage with up to 700 spaces and a pedestrian bridge from Washington Street.

The station will be closed for commuters, residents and tourists at the end of the day on July 19, with construction slated to break ground the next day.

With a completion date tentatively set for October 2014, the new MBTA project in Salem was designed by Fennick McCredie Architecture of Boston and will be built by Consigli Construction Company, Inc. According to the source, the new Intermodal Station will also feature an enclosed waiting area, two bike cages and a so-called “kiss and ride” area where cars drop off commuters or pick them up along Bridge Street.

The station will have only one vehicle entrance and exit—so no change from the existing configuration—but the new traffic signal at the entrance on Bridge Street is expected to improve traffic flow.

Rendering credits to Fennick McCredie Architecture

Hines Breaks Ground on Luxury Apartment Community near Boston

9 Jun 2013, 11:41 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Hines’ newest luxury multifamily project in the Boston area kicked off this week at 36 River Street in Waltham, MA. Located just 10 miles west of downtown Boston, 36 River will create new high-quality housing opportunities for the city while supporting area businesses and community development along the Charles River.

Three months ago the Boston Herald reported that the already permitted residential complex—which was then called Acadia on the Charles Apartments—was sold by real estate firm Saracen Properties to Texas-based Hines for $13.5 million.

Developed by general contractor Callahan, Inc., and designed by CUBE3 Studio of Lawrence, MA, 36 River will replace a former parking lot near the Watertown line, overlooking the Charles River. The M-shaped building will have 200 rental luxury apartments and a package of high-end amenities such as a resort-style swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center and sports lounge, and an internet café. Each unit will be equipped with stone countertops, stainless steel appliances, high-quality cabinets and lighting and an open kitchen/living design with all-wood floors. Many units will have private balconies or patios overlooking the river. The four-story residential building clad in brick along the urban street sides will also include an underground parking garage on two levels that will offer up to 400 parking spaces.

According to a press statement, 36 River is Hines’ first rental residential project in the Boston area. The complex will reach final completion in April 2015, but the developer estimates that the first apartment units will be ready for occupancy as early as November 2014. The 36 River multifamily asset in Waltham will be followed by a second similar project in Cambridge, MA.

Rendering of 36 River courtesy of Hines

A Green District Emerging in Allston

3 Jun 2013, 7:04 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

After getting the green light from the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), The Mount Vernon Company is preparing to break ground on a $17 million residential complex at 75 Brainerd Road in Allston. Called The Icon, the project is part of the Green District, which will be the largest privately funded, multifamily community in this Boston neighborhood.

According to information listed on the developer’s website, the Allston Green District will encompass six buildings: The Element, a combination of convenient and luxury housing; The Edge; The Icon; The Metro—a series of four renovated buildings; The Matrix; and The Gateway.

The recently approved Icon building is the third structure to be developed by The Mount Vernon Company at the site. As reported by Boston.com, the two parcels totaling half an acre were acquired by The Mount Vernon Company back in July 2012 for $2.5 million. The 93,260-square-foot building will be a mid-rise—it will stand five stories high—and will replace a warehouse facility and an auto repair shop at 75 Brainerd and 10 Redford.

With a completion date set for August 2014 and seeking LEED Platinum certification, The Icon will provide 104 highly efficient European design rental apartments, 14 of which will be designated as affordable housing units, as well as 108 underground parking spaces.

The Mount Vernon Company has already completed the Green District’s first residential building, a $23 million project called The Element. The Edge, which is the second residential structure in this new section of Allston, will begin accepting applications this summer.


Rendering of The Icon via http://mvernon.com


Jefferies LoanCore Provides $60M Mortgage for Hingham Shipyard Retail Center

10 May 2013, 6:08 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The Debt & Equity Finance team of CBRE/New England has negotiated $60 million in first mortgage financing with New York-based investment bank Jefferies LoanCore on behalf of real estate development company Samuels & Associates. According to Citybizlist, the loan will be used to secure The Launch at Hingham Shipyard, a transit-oriented shopping center located at 349 Lincoln Street at Shipyard Drive, on the former site of the historic World War II naval shipbuilding.

The Launch was designed by Elkus Manfredi and Jeff Pullman Architects as a mix of large retailers and small boutique shops to create a lively destination for visitors, residents and commuters alike. The waterfront shopping center kicked off in spring 2010 as part of a large redevelopment project of the historic Hingham Shipyard that broke ground in 2006.

Upon completion, the shopping center will include 220,000 square feet of retail space marketed by Eagle Rock Retail and anchored by 25 national retailers and restaurants such as Old Navy, Wahlburgers, Bed Bath & Beyond, Patriot Cinemas, Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s, as well as 30,000 square feet of office space.

The project also includes The Moorings, a 94-unit luxury condominium structure designed by DiMella Shaffer Architects that is currently under construction above the retail space, and an on-site parking garage with 1,500 spaces for retail customers.

Photos of The Launch at Hingham Shipyard via Eagle Rock Retail

Class A Office Building Breaks Ground in Somerville; Private Investors to Open Alcohol Distillery in Hingham

6 May 2013, 5:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Rockville, MD-headquartered Federal Investment Realty Trust is one building away from completing the first phase of Assembly Row, a $1.6 billion redevelopment effort in Somerville that aims to create a new, 45-acre neighborhood. According to the Boston Business Journal, the developer recently broke ground on a new speculative office facility with ground floor retail space.

Located at 450 Artisan Way close to MBTA’s new Assembly Square Orange Line Station, the four-story building is set for completion by the end of 2014. It will have three floors of Class A office space totaling 100,000 square feet, as well as 30,000 square feet of retail space that has already been leased to Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Papagayo and Legal C Bar.

Designed as a mix of retail, restaurants, entertainment, offices and residences located just minutes away from Cambridge and downtown Boston, the completed Assembly Row project (pictured) will include 2,100 apartment units, more than 500,000 square feet of retail space, and 1.75 million square feet of office space.

In further commercial real estate news, a private joint venture plans to construct an alcohol distillery in the South Shore Industrial Park in Hingham. According to Boston.com, private developers Robert Rohla of Hull will be involved in the project along with Patricia and Bradford Seeland of Scituate.

Called the Bradford Distillery, the facility would replace a 5,000-square-foot bay on Pond Park Road that the investors leased in June 2012. The city’s Planning Board will start the review and approval process on May 6 and, if approved, the small-scale manufacturing plant could start producing vodka, gin, brandy and artisan eau de vie—a brandy distilled from fermented fruitsby fall of this year.

Rendering via Assembly Row website

Schneider Electric’s Fifth Research and Development Center to Open in Andover

26 Apr 2013, 7:58 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Schneider Electric, a French energy technology company which employs over 130,000 worldwide, will add another facility to its network of research and development hubs which includes Grenoble (France), Bangalore (India), Monterrey (Mexico) and Shanghai (China).

The European giant is planning to consolidate all existing Massachusetts divisions in a new 235,000-square-foot research and development center in Andover, where as many as 730 employees are expected to relocate by the end of this year. As reported by the Eagle Tribune, the company plans to invest nearly $30 million in renovating an empty 160,000-square-foot office building in Andover and construct another facility of around 70,000 square feet.

Owned by Leggat McCall, a private real estate company based in Boston, the office facility (pictured) is located at 800 Federal Street and has been vacant for almost seven years. According to public records quoted by the Boston Business Journal, in 2010 Leggat paid $2.9 million for this property and another $5.6 million for another site located at 600 Federal Street. Two years later, the real estate company and Schneider Electric inked a lease agreement for the office building.

It is estimated that the new research and development center will create around 600 new jobs in Andover and attract other businesses in the town. To help Schneider Electric with this move, the township is working on a Tax Increment Financing agreement that would grant Schneider Electric a tax exemption between 5 and 100 percent of the value added to the property through new construction or significant improvement. According to the Tribune, Schneider Electric’s new research and development center will be partly financed by a $1.2 million Tax Increment Financing agreement over the next five to ten years, while the facility will generate at least $184,000 in annual property tax revenue for the town.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Nauset Completes Rental Building in Cambridge; Developer Eyes Seaport District for Large Multifamily Project

19 Apr 2013, 6:38 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Nauset Construction, a real estate development company based in Needham, recently finished converting the former Holmes Building in Central Square in downtown Cambridge into 21 rental units. The $3.5 million redevelopment project was designed by The Architectural Team (TAT) for owner Central Square, LLC, and it called for interior and exterior renovations of the former C-shaped, seven-story office building located on Massachusetts Avenue.

“What made this project especially challenging was that we were working in a fully occupied building that had 24 hour retail and a dental office on the bottom floor,” said Nauset president Anthony Papantonis in a press statement.

Located within walking distance from Central Square’s Red Line Stop and close to Boston’s tech corridor—a highly sought after location for corporate housing—the 21 apartments are a much-needed addition to the area’s rental market. The renovated structure also includes a new fitness room, conference room, storage area and laundry room, as well as roof deck plazas for three units.

Meanwhile in Boston’s Seaport District, a much larger residential project could replace a vacant parcel at 399 Congress Street. According to the Boston Business Journal, in 2006 developer Madison Seaport Holdings LLC received approval to build a $100 million hotel at the site, but the plan had to be cancelled because of the recession.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is expected to decide on Madison Seaport’s new proposal during the April 23 hearing that will be held at ADD Inc. at 311 Summer Street. Reportedly, the development plan calls for a 22-story building with 414 apartments ranging from studios to three-bedroom units and a three-level underground parking facility with 144 spaces. The project also features a 12,000-square-foot lobby with retail space, innovation space on the building’s second and third floors, and 12,600 square feet of shared-use amenity space consisting of a fitness room, media room, and a game and lounge area.

Rendering of the Holmes Building courtesy of The Architectural Team


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