Monday, March 30, 2015

280-Unit Residential High Rise Planned for Kendall Square

The Ames Street Residences is a 200,000 square foot residential high rise with 280 apartment units and 16,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The  project, designed by FX/Fowle, will be a slender 22-story tower by rising in front of the Kendall Center East Garage, overlooking the Cambridge Center rooftop garden. 

There will be a mix of unit types at 88 Ames Street, including micro-units, studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms. Developer Boston Properties will set aside 36 apartments in the new building as affordable housing units.

The residential development has been debated for more than a decade, and was originally planned for the site now occupied by the Broad Institute’s new building at 75 Ames Street, located across the street from the site.

The project will now stand on a vacant lot on the south side of Ames Street, between 4 and 5 Kendall Center.

Boston Properties aims to transform Ames Street, between Main Street and Broadway, from a service street to a more active, pedestrian friendly streetscape with active ground floor use on both sides of the street.

The project includes a significant commitment to bicycle transportation with the addition of 296 secure, on-site, weather protected spaces accessible by residents and retail employees.

There will also be an additional 38 short-term bicycle parking spaces along Pioneer Way.

The city had initially asked Boston Properties to subsidize half the cost of a monthly bus and subway CharlieCard for the first 12 months of residence for all tenants, and also to fund $50,000 for Kendall Square transit improvements.

The developer’s counter-offer was for one month of CharlieCards.

After month of wrangling, both side agreed that for each resident, Boston Properties will provide three months of a subsidized CharlieCard and one year of Hubway membership.

The developer will also contribute $50,000 towards transit improvements, construct a Hubway station and install two electric vehicle charging stations.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Major Transformation Planned for Congress St, Quaker Lane

A development firm is preparing to transform a drab cluster of office buildings and retail space in Boston’s financial district into the mixed-use Congress Square. Related Beal has big plans for the 458,300-square-foot development, which spans an entire city block along Water, Devonshire and Congress streets. The project calls for two building additions, a new 13-story boutique hotel on Devonshire Street and a mix of offices, residential units, and retail and restaurant spaces.

The developer plans to renovate the six Financial District office buildings in the existing Block on Congress to bring 24-hour activity to an area historically dominated by financial institutions.

Plans includes 92,700 square feet of new construction: a cantilevered glass, five-story condominium addition above 15 Congress Street ; a three-story office addition to 40 Water Street; and the new 133-room hotel tower on what’s currently a vacant lot used for parking.

The hotel tower would be connected to the building at 68 Devonshire Street.

The ground floors of the buildings would include new lobby entrances and glass-fronted shops and restaurants that open up to outdoor dining areas on Quaker Lane. Quaker Lane would be converted into a European-style pedestrian area with suspended cable lighting between buildings, cobblestone pavers, sculptural seating and landscaping.

Buildings at 40 Water Street, 82 Devonshire Street and 33-35 Congress Street would be combined for innovation/¬economy office space and capped with a three-story office addition.

A new mid-rise building would be constructed at 54 Devonshire and a multistory addition will be built on top of 15 Congress, which is will likely be converted into a boutique-style residential building.

One of the most important changes to the block will be the development and activation of Quaker Lane, essentially an alley that runs through the middle of the property, which will link the Post Office Square and the high-traffic Faneuil Hall.

“For the last 40 years, these buildings have been restricted to private use and turned inward, cut off from the surrounding neighborhood and streets.

The design for Congress Square restores these buildings and Quaker Lane to a destination within the heart of downtown Boston.”

Related Beal has tapped integrated design firm Arrowstreet to spearhead the makeover of the buildings, the oldest of which was developed in 1899. Ultimately three of the structures will be marketed to specialized developers for conversion.

The company acquired what’s now about 343,000 square feet of primarily office space from Fidelity Investments for $87.25 million.

Related Beal hopes to start construction this fall and complete it in spring 2017.

Monday, March 16, 2015

$75M Mixed-Use Development Planned for Dorchester

The construction boom that is transforming Boston’s skyline and restructuring neighborhoods like South Boston is now rolling into Dorchester. The latest development is DotBlock, a $75 million mix of condos, apartments, shops and restaurants by Atlas Investment Group that would rise on what is now a 3 1/2-acre patch of run-down warehouses and industrial buildings on Dorchester Avenue.

The phased development would include up to 259 units of for-rent and for-sale housing, a 20,000-square-foot landscaped roof deck, a 400-space central parking garage and 40,000 square feet of retail at 1207 Dorchester Avenue, near the Savin Hill Station.

The 3.5-acre project site stretches almost a full city block and is roughly bounded by Dorchester Avenue, and  Greenmount and Hancock streets. Existing properties on the site include a mix of underutilized industrial buildings, including single-story warehouses.

The condos, totaling 64 in all, will be priced at around $400,000 in a bid to appeal to those middle-class buyers priced out of Boston amid an explosion of luxury housing. The two-bedroom, two-bath units will have 1,150 square feet of space.

Three apartment buildings are planned as well, with units averaging about 950 square feet a piece.

A five-story apartment building with 50 units is planned for DotBlock’s first phase. The second phase includes a pair of six-story buildings totaling 145 more units.

A total of 40,000 square feet of neighborhood style retail is planned for the ground floor of the two six-story buildings, with a mix of coffee shops, restaurants and a grocery store.

Demetrios Dasco of Atlas Investment Group LLC is spearheading the project's development, and RODE Architects is handling design work.

The DotBlock plan follows on the heels of a proposal by development giant Edens to expand the South Bay shopping center in Dorchester.

That plan calls for 500 apartments, a 65,000-square-foot cinema, 115,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, and a 150 to 200-room hotel.

The developer hopes to nail down all the necessary permits over the next few months, clear the site by the summer, and begin construction in the fall.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Massive 3-Tower Project Set to Rise at Boston Garden

A 1.87-million-square-foot, mixed-use project, with a price tag estimated at $950 million, will soon begin to rise over Causeway Street and the Zakim Bridge. The Boston Garden Towers will be constructed on a 2.8-acre parking lot located next to TD Garden, where the old Boston Garden once stood. The three tower project would connect 497 residential units, 668,000 square feet of office space and 235,000 square feet of retail to the sports venue and North Station.

The massive development located at 80 Causeway Street will dramatically alter the face of the TD Garden.

The new complex, designed by architect Elkus Manfredi, will rise over Causeway Street in three new towers: two of them 20 stories high and one 45-story tower reaching 600 feet, built above a three- to five-story retail base.

A modern glass atrium will connect to a new entrance into TD Garden and to the MBTA's North Station.

Below ground, a four-level parking garage will be constructed to accommodate about 800 vehicles.

“We are creating a new front door to North Station, a new portal to the city,” said David Manfredi, of Elkus Manfredi Architects.

“We don’t want to create a mall; we don’t want to create privatized space. We want to create space that is inviting to the public.”

The $950 million development will include:
  •     40,000 square foot expansion of TD Garden
  •     560,000 square feet of residential with 497 units
  •     200,000 square foot hotel with 306 rooms
  •     668,000 square feet of office space
  •     142,000 square feet of flexible office space
  •     235,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space
  •     25,000 square foot glass atrium hall

Prior to leaving office, Mayor Menino had agreed to provide $7.8 million in tax breaks to help the developers lure the Star Market and build the underground parking spaces for the TD Garden.

The tax agreement will spread the relief over 15 years.

During that same period, the development is expected to produce $32.2 million in new tax revenue for the city.

Developer Boston Properties said the tax agreement was crucial to attracting a supermarket to the property and asserted the project will help enliven the area around the arena.

The massive project will be built in stages, with the first phase to include the multi-story retail base, a supermarket, a cinema, a 306-room hotel, and the 4-story underground parking garage.

Construction is expected to begin this Spring.