Monday, December 30, 2019

#4 STORY OF 2019

2-Building Project will Bring 250 Apartments to Hyde Park 

A large two-building development is set to rise near the Readville commuter station, bringing with it 250 new apartments.

Boston-based Noannet Group is developing the project at 36-40 Sprague Street in Boston’s Hyde Park section.

The original plan called for a much bigger development - a four-building campus with 521 housing units, including condos, and features such as co-working space and a big steel-frame sign reading “Readville” to trumpet that area of Hyde Park.

Local opposition resisted the original proposal and led to curtailments that eventually resulted in the two-building, 250-unit project that the Boston Planning and Development Agency approved in mid-September. 

Current plans call for just two, five story residential buildings with 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, and 3,000 square feet for community space.

The residential component will consist of 110 one-bedroom apartments, 88 two-bedroom units, 44 studios, and eight three-bedroom apartments. Thirty-two units will be set aside for lower income tenants.

Amenities will include a fitness center, a courtyard, and a daycare facility, as well as parking for 251 vehicles.

The developer is providing new traffic signals to the area as part of the project. It was traffic that fueled opposition to the original proposal, with residents concerned about more cars on the Readville roads. 

Hyde Park is one of the few affordable neighborhoods left in the Boston area, with average rents around $1,750 for one-bedroom apartment.

#3 STORY OF 2019

New Apt Complex Next to South Bay Shopping Center

The neighborhood around South Bay is changing fast. And next up could be a large apartment building at 173 Boston Street in Dorchester that would include about 400 units.

Developer Bass Realty has filed plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency, for a five-story apartment building on the site of a Verizon service center and a neighboring warehouse at 15 Enterprise Street. 

Bass Realty has owned the buildings since the mid-1990s as industrial property. 

The four acre project would include about 400 units in three wings, along with nearly two acres of publicly accessible open space, as well as a one-way street that would cut through, connecting Boston Street and South Bay. 
The project will also include 18,000 square feet of commercial space, a 260-space underground parking garage, and 25 on-street parking spaces. 

The development site is next door to the recently opened expansion of the huge South Bay shopping center, which added 475 apartments, a movie theater, and a more pedestrian-oriented street grid, to its big-box stores and enormous parking lot. 

This new project will knit that expansion more neatly into the neighborhood to the south and east.

The owners of South Bay envision eventually redeveloping the entire 50-acre shopping complex to feel more like a traditional mixed-use neighborhood, though plans for that are still in early stages.

#2 STORY OF 2019

3-Building Project in North Quincy to Create 610 Apartments

The Abby, a three-building apartment complex set on a 7.2-acre parking lot adjacent to the Red Line stop, will bring 610 apartments to North Quincy.

The project being developed by Maryland-based Bozzuto Development Company will include 45,000 square feet of retail space, including a Target, as well as a parking garage with 1,314 spaces. 

All of the buildings in the project—named for first lady Abigail Adams, will be connected.

Quincy is seeing a wave of development near its Red Line stops to its proximity to Boston. The Abby is under 25 minutes from Cambridge’s Kendall Square on the Red Line and 15 minutes from Boston’s South Station. The site is also about a mile from I-93.

The complex, designed by Icon Architects, is scheduled to wrap in phases. The first phase includes the garage, which is slated to be ready in summer 2020; Building A, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2021, with 218 apartments and the 40,000-square-foot Target store.

Building B is scheduled to wrap in summer 2021, with 137 apartments and 2,500 square feet of retail space, as well as 219 surface parking spaces.

The second phase will include a 255-unit Building C, which will also have 2,500 square feet of retail space and 130 parking spots for residents. 

Amenities at the Abby will include a fitness center, a solarium, a lounge, a dog spa, a bike-repair area, two landscaped courtyards, and electric-vehicle charging stations.

The development team is also donating $4.8 million to Quincy’s affordable housing trust as well as to public space improvements at North Quincy High School and nearby streets and sidewalks.

#1 STORY OF 2019

$400M+ Raffles Hotel & Condos to Rise in Back Bay 

A huge 33-story, $400 million+ Raffles Hotel and Residences will soon begin to rise at 40 Trinity Place in Back Bay. 

The Saunders Hotel Group and the Noannet Group landed a $314 million construction loan in July.

The 154-room Raffles Hotel and 146 Raffles Condominiums will replace the current Boston Common Hotel & Conference Center, an eight-story, 85,000-square-foot building featuring 64 hotel rooms and a 13,650-square-foot conference facility.

The new tower is planned to rise 33 stories, and will also include restaurant and retail space as well as expansion space for the adjacent University Club. 

Amenities will include a two-story sky lobby perched high above Copley Square, six food and beverage venues, a state-of-the-art Raffles Spa with a 20-meter indoor pool and fitness club, conference rooms, a grand ballroom, and a rooftop garden terrace and lounge.

The project will provide over $22 million in public benefits in total, including street and public realm improvements, seven on-site affordable housing units and a contribution of over $13 million that will support additional affordable housing in Boston.

The hotel will be the first mixed-use property in North America for the world-renowned and iconic hospitality brand, and is expected to thematically reflect Boston—as other Raffles hotels in places such as Paris, Singapore, and the Seychelles reflect their locales.

The tower—officially named Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences— will be built to LEED Gold sustainability specifications and is scheduled to open in 2022. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Massive Columbia Point Mixed-Use Development

A massive 20-acre development covering more than 2.5 million square feet located on Dorchester’s Columbia Point will soon begin breaking ground along the Harborwalk overlooking Boston Harbor. 

The building site was formerly home to the now-demolished Bayside Expo Center, located three miles from Downtown Boston, just steps from the MBTA Red Line and only minutes to Interstate 93.

UMass Boston, the site’s owner, has hired a development partner to transform the site into a modern-day Harvard Square, planning for up to 3.4 million square feet of mixed-use development.

The university has big plans for the new neighborhood which will be integrated with the existing UMass Boston campus and includes academic, research, retail, residential, dining, entertainment, and cultural uses.

New buildings and landscapes are to take full advantage of the site’s waterfront location and maximize public access to the waterfront. 

Additionally, the project will replace an underground garage and create fund a new home for the nursing school.

Developer Accordia Partners recently finalized an agreement to lease the 20-acre site, signing a 99-year ground lease for the UMass Boston property with an expected value of $235 million.

The deal will provide some relief to the financially-strapped university.

Accordia was selected as the winning bid from proposals offered by 16 developers for the prime waterfront land on Columbia Point in February.

All the new buildings will feature state-of-the-art energy efficiency and be LEED certified. 

The entire project is expected be under construction for about 10 years.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Seaport Square Project Changes from Residential to Offices

The Boston Planning and Development Agency has approved WS Development’s plan to switch plans for its project at 350 Summer Street in Seaport Square from a residential conversion to 384,000 square feet of office and lab space.

Per the developer’s original September request, the building will be comprised of approximately 384,000 square feet of office and/or research and development uses and about 38,000 square feet of restaurant, entertainment, and retail space.

The building had been slated to host 350,000 square feet of residential and 72,000 square feet of restaurant-entertainment-retail.

WS Development has a potential office tenant lined up already too. Foundation Medicine, a Cambridge-based life sciences firm that has already leased 580,000 square feet at WS’ under-construction 400 Summer Street for its new headquarters, has a right of first refusal to take space in 350 Summer Street as well.

The project is the latest major life sciences-related real estate move in the Boston region. 

New projects from Somerville to Watertown and different parts of Boston, including South Boston and Allston, have been drawing interest from numerous biotech firms. 

No surprise, given the industry’s presence regionally—but still notable given that all these projects have been proposed in just the past 12 months.

The shift at 350 Summer Street has raised concerns about the loss of residential units in a Seaport District—and a Boston—that needs housing of all kinds. 

WS said that it would still build the approximately 3,200 units it originally proposed for Seaport Square, in part by shifting the mix of unit types to include smaller, lower-priced units and fewer large luxury units.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A 212-Room Canopy by Hilton to Rise on North Street

A new 212-room Hilton-branded hotel will soon break ground at 111 North Street near the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

The joint venture between CV Properties, Harbinger Development, and Olshan Properties expects to complete the $200 million building by the middle of 2021. 

The hotel will operate as a Canopy by Hilton, a brand that the hospitality colossus launched only last year with a Washington, D.C., development.

Canopy by Hiltons are supposed to be more integrated into their surrounding neighborhoods than other hotels from the company. 

The 111 North site straddles Boston Haymarket area and the city’s historic North End, so it appears to be a good fit for the location.

Aside from the hotel, the project is also due to include 13,000 square feet of retail space and restaurant space. There will be a 2,500-square-foot bar and restaurant, too, with views of the Greenway and a glass wall that retracts.

The Canopy by Hilton will join a slew of planned hotel projects in Boston along the Greenway. 

Developer Boston Residential Group plans to replace a surface parking lot at 55 India Street with a 12-story, 29-unit condo.

Other planned hotels include a Raffles-brand hotel in Back Bay, an expanded Onyx hotel in downtown, a Club Quarters in Back Bay, a citizenM hotel near TD Garden, and a new boutique hotel adjacent to Fenway Park.

What’s driving this hotel construction boom? Boston’s high occupancy and nightly rates—some of the highest in the United States—have quite a bit to do with it. 

Also the fact that Boston-area hotels historically sell for substantial prices when owners and investors decide to check out.