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“Voke Lofts” Adaptive Reuse Project Brings 84 Mixed-Income Units to Worcester

7 Jul 2014, 7:16 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Voke Lofts - Worcester MA

Voke Lofts – Worcester MA

An official ceremony held recently in Worcester marked the completion of the Voke Lofts, a new adaptive reuse project led by WinnDevelopment, a division of WinnCompanies.

Rising on the site of the former city’s Vocational Technical School that was closed in 2006, Voke Lofts is the sole residential component of the City of Worcester’s Gateway Park Master Plan—a partnership between the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC) and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to redevelop 55 acres of brownfield located downtown. As previously reported by Multi-Housing News Online, work on the $33 million mixed-income residential project started in spring 2013, several months after WinnDevelopment entered an agreement with WBDC to purchase the vacant school site at 34 Grove Street for $1.7 million.

The completion of Voke Lofts marks Winn’s 18th adaptive reuse project in Worcester. “The school is an important part of Worcester’s past and we’re honored to preserve the character of the building in its latest incarnation, which brings much needed, quality housing to the city,” said Gilbert Winn, managing principal of WinnCompanies, during the grand opening event .

Worcester Vocational Technical School (pre-development)

Worcester Vocational Technical School (pre-development)

The 116,306-square-foot apartment building that replaced the former vocational school (pictured left) was designed by Chelsea-based The Architectural Team (TAT) and A.T. Leonard & Associates Landscape Architecture, with Dellbrook Construction of Quincy serving as the project’s general contractor. Voke Lofts consists of a combination of 50 one-bedroom units, 31 two-bedroom units and 3 three-bedroom units. Half of the rental apartments were set aside for individuals and families with incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the area’s median income, while the other half will be market rate. According to information on Dellbrook Construction’s website, 70 percent of the units at Voke Lofts are already leased and rent prices are determined depending on the unit. For example, a one-bedroom apartment at market rate is leased at roughly $1,200 per month, while a unit with a den would fetch $1,600. All loft-style apartments have light industrial look elements such as exposed brick and ceiling beams and piping.

The redesigned multifamily building incorporates an on-site management office, a residents’ lounge with a kitchen, a computer learning center, a play area for children, as well as a fitness center and bike storage space. The LEED certifiable residential building also includes an art gallery where students enrolled at the current Worcester Technical High School located at 1 Skyline Drive can exhibit their work, and on-site classroom space where residents will have access to classes offered by Becker College.

Images courtesy of A.T. Leonard & Associates Landscape Architecture

Developer Unveils $1 Billion, Two-Tower Redevelopment Project for Boston Harbor Garage

28 Jun 2014, 2:09 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Harbor Garage Project

Harbor Garage Project

Don Chiofaro, a real estate developer whose firm The Chiofaro Company serves the New England area, is moving forward with plans to redevelop one of the largest, privately held parking facilities in Boston.

The Boston Harbor Garage sitting on a 1.3-acre parcel at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Milk Street, close to the New England Aquarium, is an eight-story concrete parking garage that has was acquired by The Chiofaro Company in 2007 for $153 million, according to information from PropertyShark. After several redesign attempts that got rejected during the Menino administration, the developer has come up with a final project that will transform the plain-looking, box-shaped building into a residential and office complex totaling 1.3 billion square feet.

Ideally located at 70 East India Row along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the Boston Harbor Garage has 401,310 square feet of space that is used strictly for parking. Developer Don Chiofaro’s $1 billion proposal tentatively dubbed Harbor Garage Project calls for a 600-foot residential tower with 120 condos and a 300-room hotel, and a 500-foot office tower encompassing 700,000 square feet of space. As reported by the Boston Business Journal, Harbor Garage will also include 35,000 square feet of retail

Harbor Garage Project  - Harbor Square

Harbor Garage Project – Harbor Square

space on the first three floors of each tower, more than 27,000 square feet of open space, as well as a 70-foot, open space called Harbor Square featuring a retractable roof and lush landscaping, allowing the square to be used for open air festivals in summer and as an ice skating rink in winter. As for the existing 1,400-car garage, the developer plans to raze it and reconstruct it below grade. However, as the garage is estimated to cost around $180 million to sink, the developer needs to achieve a certain density in order to make the project financially viable.

Designed by New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the Harbor Garage Project falls under Chapter 91—the Massachusetts state law that governs any development projects of the waterfront—and it will first need to receive approval for zoning changes from the state and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) since it is taller than the accepted 400-foot height restrictions. Additionally, 50 percent of the project’s footprint will have to be designated as “public space,” Boston Herald reports.

If the project gets the green light for construction from the state and BRA, it will take around three years to complete.

Rendering courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Boston Residential Development Plans 44-Unit Luxury Building Across from the Greenway

21 Jun 2014, 4:11 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The small parking lot on India Street facing the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Downtown Boston could be replaced by a 12-story residential structure by Boston Residential Development, which recently filed a Project Notification Form with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

55 India Street - project rendering

55 India Street – project rendering

Surrounded by high-rise commercial and residential buildings and structured parking garages, the 7,100-square-foot site at 55 India Street has been a paved parking lot since the 1950s and consists of three small parcels. As described in the Project Notification Form, the proposed project would add much-needed housing in this part of the downtown area while filling a gap along the Greenway and enhancing the pedestrian experience. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was officially opened in 2008 as a 15-acre linear urban park built on land created after the Big Dig—a megaproject that rerouted the elevated John F. Fitzgerald Expressway that ran through the heart of the city into a 3.5-mile tunnel.

55 India Street will encompass 67,000 square feet of mixed-use space. Designed by Hacin + Associates, the glass and brick building will include 44 luxury condominiums offered in a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 600 to 1,750 square feet, and around 4,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space on the ground floor and mezzanine level.

Because the site is located less than a mile from several MBTA stations (for example the MBTA Aquarium and State Street Stations which provide access to both the Orange Line and the Blue Line are located within a quarter-mile of 55 India Street), the project will not include a parking garage of its own; instead, the developer plans to secure rental parking in the nearby garages. However, the conceptual plans include bicycle storage within the building, but the space will be limited to one per residential unit.

If approved by the BRA, the developer could begin construction at 55 India Street in the first quarter of 2015 and deliver the residences in approximately 16 months.

Rendering courtesy of Boston Residential Development via BRA

Cabot, Cabot and Forbes and Boston Andes Capital Pay $10.3 Million for South Quincy Site

13 Jun 2014, 8:03 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Zero Penn Street - Quincy MA

Zero Penn Street – Quincy MA

Boston-based real estate developer Cabot, Cabot and Forbes (CC&F) and its capital partner, Boston Andes Capital, recently paid $10.3 million for a 2.3-acre development site in South Quincy. The transaction was coordinated by Chris Sower, Jason Weissman, Andrew Herald and Jennifer Price of BRA’s Capital Markets Team.

Located across from the Quincy Adams MBTA Station on Penn Street, the site was previously owned by Sobin Park LLC and Jenelle Realty LLC, which acquired the vacant lot back in 2009 for $2 million, the Boston Business Journal reports. Last year the city council permitted the site for a six-story rental apartment community. And although CC&F is still in the process of accepting bids from contractors and hasn’t decided on a construction date, the project is expected to welcome its first residents by spring 2016.

Zero Penn Street - development site via Google Maps

Zero Penn Street – development site via Google Maps

The 253,000-square-foot residential project is tentatively called Zero Penn Street and will cost around $36 million to build. When completed, it will include 19 studio units, 111 one-bedroom units and 50 two-bedroom units.

The complex will also feature a parking garage with 180 spaces, a pool and a landscaped courtyard. Michael Boujoulian, senior vice president of CC&F, told The Patriot Ledger that rents at Zero Penn Street will start at $1,600 per month for a studio apartment.

CC&F agreed to invest $100,000 to help revitalize the intersection of Burgin Parkway and Centre Street in order to close the gap between the residential area and the MBTA station and make the area more pedestrian friendly.


Project rendering via CC&F

YOTEL Plans to Open First Micro-Hotel Location in Boston

6 Jun 2014, 3:07 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

YOTEL NY - facade

YOTEL NY – facade

It’s been almost three years since the Menino administration began encouraging developers to create housing units as small as 375 square feet in the growing Innovation District, similar to New York City’s famously tiny apartments. Designed for an urban lifestyle, these “innovation and workforce” apartments cater to ultra-active, young professionals who use them mainly for sleeping, while recreational activities take place in shared spaces within the building or in the nearby restaurants and bars.

Following the success of micro housing, a UK-based hospitality chain called YOTEL—a subsidiary of YO! Company—wants to bring a similar concept to the same area of the South Boston Waterfront. According to The Boston Globe, the micro-hotel project could be constructed by Boston Global Investors (BGI) as part of the company’s Seaport Square, a new live-play neighborhood that includes more than 300 small-sized apartment units along with flexible office space for startups and the 12,000-square-foot District Hall/Boston Innovation Center that was officially opened in fall 2013.

YOTEL NY - cabin

YOTEL NY – cabin

Created less than ten years ago by YO! Company founder Simon Woodroffe OBE and YOTEL CEO Gerard Greene, the micro-hotel concept is similar to the Japanese capsule-like hotels designed for very short stays at airports. Currently there are two micro-hotels operating at Gatwick Airport and Heathrow Airport in London, one at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and the 669-cabin YOTEL New York at Times Square West located at 570 Tenth Avenue that opened in June 2011.

Reportedly, Boston’s new YOTEL will be built along Seaport Boulevard and across from the John Joseph Moakley US Courthouse. The 11-story structure designed by Boston architecture firm ADD Inc. will have 307 micro-rooms ranging from 160 to 200 square feet; the affordable luxury hotel will also include a rooftop bar and seating area. Tariffs for the prospective South Boston YOTEL have not been determined yet, but most probably they will be significantly less expensive than traditional hotel rooms.

Images via YOTEL NY Facebook Page

Northland Closes on $98 Million Financing for Transit-Oriented Complex in Waltham

31 May 2014, 1:02 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A new transit-oriented complex is underway at the intersection of Main and Moody Streets in Waltham, a thriving suburb located only 14 miles west of Boston.

Moody and Main project rendering - Waltham MA

Moody and Main project rendering – Waltham MA

Northland Investment Corp., a real estate investment company based in Newton, has closed on a $98 million construction financing package from PCCP, LLC and is now ready to kick-start a massive redevelopment project in the heart of the city, one block from the Waltham MBTA commuter rail station.

Moody and Main On The Common will be constructed in phases on a 4.5-acre site encompassing four buildings—located at 702 and 716 on Main Street and 1 and 55 on Moody Street, respectively—that the developer has owned since 2005. Wicked Local Waltham reported that 55 Moody Street and 702 Main Street have already been razed and the developer has filed for demolition permits for the remaining buildings as well. ADD Inc. of Boston is the project’s architect of record, while Erland Construction serves as the general contractor.

Spanning 340,000 square feet, Moody and Main On The Common is set for completion in the summer of 2016, with the first phase ready in mid-2015. According to the developer, the project calls for three new, five-story buildings totaling 269 luxury rental apartments—16 studios, 142 one-bedrooms, 102 two-bedrooms and 9 three-bedrooms—with 27 affordable housing units. The residences will boast sustainable, high-end amenities such as walk-in closets, Energy Star appliances, low-flow fixtures, white roofs, European-style cabinetry and solid stone countertops.

The commercial component at Moody and Main includes 27,975 square feet of ground floor retail space, a below-grade parking garage for 300 cars and 92 surface parking spaces.

John Randall, senior vice president with PCCP, told Commercial Property Executive  in a recent interview that Northland’s transit-oriented complex in Waltham will target renters by choice who are on the lookout for brand-new, high-quality rentals with access to regional access but who also enjoy the walkability of the location.

Rendering courtesy of Northland Investment Corp.

Conroy to Transform Parcel K into Residential and Commercial Complex

23 May 2014, 4:35 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Parcel K redevelopment project - Boston Innovation District

Parcel K redevelopment project – Boston Innovation District

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) recently approved Conroy Development’s proposal to transform a 2.4-acre parking lot in the South Boston Waterfront into a vibrant residential and commercial complex.

Known as Parcel K, the development site is one of the many parcels that comprise the 30-acre Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) Commonwealth Flats Development Area (CFDA), according to the Project Notification Form that was submitted by the developer in 2013. Parcel K is located at the corner of Northern Avenue and Congress Street in an area that has emerged as the city’s Innovation District thanks to the large number of tech companies and start-ups that have offices here.

According to information from the BRA, Conroy Development will invest $230 million to complete the project that will encompass over 480,000 square feet at full build-out. The conceptual design created by Arrowstreet Architecture features an 11-story residential and commercial building and an adjacent 10-story boutique hotel that will support the businesses located in the nearby Boston Marine Industrial Park, the emerging businesses of the Innovation District as well as the World Trade Center and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center—both of which are located within walking distance of the Parcel K development project.

Parcel K redevelopment project - Boston Innovation District

Parcel K redevelopment project – Boston Innovation District

At 300,000 square feet, the residential building will become the visual focal point at the end of Congress Street. It will be constructed on the western side of the parcel and will have 304 rental apartments (including micro-housing) ranging from studios to two-bedrooms, with 40 units designed as affordable housing. The eastern portion of the parking lot will be replaced by the 247-room hotel whose operator hasn’t been announced yet. Together, the two buildings will include around 25,000 square feet of retail space and 16,500 square feet of “innovation” flex office space located around the southern edge of the site, between the residential building and the hotel and immediately adjacent to the MBTA Silver Line Way station.

The redevelopment effort at Parcel K also includes the construction of a multi-level underground parking garage with a total of 640 spaces. Additionally, Conroy Development has committed $200,000 for community-oriented purposes that will be supported by the BRA.

Expected to become a key component of the growing Innovation District, the Parcel K Project will seek LEED Silver certification by incorporating several sustainable design and construction strategies. Furthermore, the development is projected to create around 700 new construction and permanent jobs. Conroy Development is expected to begin construction by fall and complete the project within two years.

Renderings credits Arrowstreet Architecture

Flats@44, Flats@22 Add to Chelsea’s Wave of Mixed-Income Rental Projects

16 May 2014, 9:30 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Flats@44 - Chelsea, MA

Flats@44 – Chelsea, MA

As rents continue to soar in Boston’s top-rated neighborhoods, a wave of residential developments in the suburb of Chelsea promises a more diversified apartment market for those looking for mixed- to low-income housing options.

Flats@44 is the newest residential community that was completed in the so-called Box District in downtown Chelsea, a once blighted neighborhood that was named after the box manufacturing companies that operated in the area until the 1960s. The building’s completion was celebrated on May 14 by local authorities, state leaders and representatives of the development company during an official event.

Developed by the Mitchell Properties LLC of Boston, The Neighborhood Developers and the Traggorth Companies in coordination with the City, Flats@44 is the first project completed under the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP), a federal program designed to encourage residential growth by offering developers in 24 “Gateway Cities” $5 million in annual tax credits.

Flats@44 is located at 44 Gerrish Avenue, just a block from the Chelsea City Hall and was designed by The Architectural Team and DMS Design LLC. The project kicked off in mid-2013 and called for the rehabilitation of the old Standard Box warehouse building and the development of new modular construction, according to city officials. Currently 80 percent leased, Flats@44 includes 41 market apartments and five affordable rental units in a combination of studios, one- and two-bedroom units with monthly rents ranging from $1,315 to $1,950. The loft-style list of amenities at Flats@44 includes a roof deck, a fitness center, stainless steel appliances, in-home washer/dryer, walk in closets with lighting and shelving, energy efficient heating and cooling, free Wi-Fi in common areas, as well as extra storage spaces and covered and off-street parking spaces.

The inaugural ceremony at 44 Gerrish Avenue also marked the official groundbreaking of Flats@22, another mixed-income residential project that will be constructed at 22 Gerrish Avenue by the same development team. Flats@22 will include 50 rental apartments, 21 of which will be affordable.


Renderings via Flats@44 

USGBC Awards LEED Gold Certification to Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel in Needham

9 May 2014, 5:02 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Less than one year after construction was completed at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Needham, just 17 miles from Boston, the project’s developers announced the hotel was awarded LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Needham Residence Inn by Marriott

Needham Residence Inn by Marriott

Owned by XSS Hotels and managed by Colwen Management of Portsmouth, NH, the 90,000-square-foot facility is located at 80 B Street in the New England Business Center office park. As previously reported by the New England Real Estate Journal, the $13.5 million hotel was built by locally based Waterford Development Corporation and is part of a complex redevelopment plan advanced by Normandy Real Estate Partners that calls for new office buildings, the Residence Inn hotel and two parking facilities to be built over the next few years.

The 128-key Residence Inn by Marriott was designed by PROCON, an architecture firm of Manchester, NH, that also served as construction manager for this hospitality project. In order to achieve LEED Gold Certification, the development team incorporated regional and recycled construction materials, as well as environmentally friendly design elements such as oversized windows, a white roof, low-flow and water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and LED lighting throughout the structure.

Designed for extended-stay visitors and business travelers, the Needham Residence Inn by Marriott hotel includes 116 urban studios, eight one-bedroom suites and four two-bedroom suites. Each suite offers separate working, lounging and sleeping areas, and a fully equipped kitchen. The five-story hotel also features a bar and lounge area, indoor pool and fitness room, as well as two meeting rooms located on the first floor and totaling 1,330 square feet of space.

“We designed and constructed the Needham Residence Inn with a strong focus on sustainability and incorporated environmentally friendly features into the operation of the hotel,” said Leo Xarras of XSS Hotels. “We are very proud that the Needham Residence Inn attained LEED Gold Certification and know that our guests appreciate staying in an environmentally responsible hotel.”


Rendering via Marriott

HYM to Co-Develop New Balance’s $500 Million Boston Landing Mixed-Use Project

2 May 2014, 2:42 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., one of the largest sports footwear manufacturers in the world, recently announced it has selected a co-developer for the new headquarters building that is currently under construction between the Allston/Brighton interchange.

According to an official statement by NB Development Group—New Balance’s real estate investment and development arm—Boston-based real estate company HYM Investment Group, LLC will co-develop the massive Boston Landing (formerly marketed as New Brighton Landing) mixed-use project that was approved by the BRA in mid-2012 and broke ground in September 2013.

Boston Landing - development map

Boston Landing – development map

“We welcome HYM as our Co-Development Manager for Boston Landing as we move forward with the next phases of redevelopment on this expansive site on the western gateway to Boston,” said in a press release James Halliday, managing director of NB Development Group, LLC. “NB Development Group brought on HYM because of its direct experience with phased mixed-use sites across the region.”

The $500 million Boston Landing is being constructed on a 14-acre industrial property located at 38-100 Guest Street and 77 Guest Street that was once part of the Brighton Stockyards, the largest stockyard in the region. Designed by Elkus-Manfredi Architects of Boston, the mega-development will encompass 1.45 million square feet and will be completed in six phases over the next four years. Apart from New Balance’s 250,000-square-foot world headquarters building that is expected to be completed by 2015, the project also calls for three additional Class A, LEED-certified office buildings totaling 650,000 square feet; 65,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space and approximately 1.4 acres of public open space.

Conceptual plans also include a 140,000-square-foot boutique hotel with 175 guest rooms, dedicated parking, ground floor lobby and restaurant space that will help maximize the pedestrian experience along Guest Street. The hotel will be constructed near a state-of-the-art, 325,000-square-foot sports complex planned for 77 Guest Street that will feature a hydraulic-banked track, a professional-regulation ice hockey rink, two basketball courts and a MAC court, as well as a fitness center and spa.

“We are thrilled to be working with NB Development Group to help develop this area into a vibrant city neighborhood and 21st century destination for area residents and visitors,” said Thomas N. O’Brien, managing director of the HYM Investment Group, LLC.

Boston Landing Development map credits to Elkus-Manfredi Architects

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