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BREAKING NEWS: BRA Approves $573 Mil

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BREAKING NEWS:  BRA Approves $573 Mil
Late last night, the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved plans for a total of $573M in four new developments: an office, a mixed- use project, a hotel, and small housing project. This signals renewed vigor and confidence in the area economy and commercial property market. It also issued final height guidelines for construction around the Greenway, certain to please some and irritate others.
BREAKING NEWS:  BRA Approves $573 Mil
Today, BRA director John Palmieri said the investment of time and money by the developers to seek BRA approvals is a serious commitment that ?means economic conditions are improving as the development and financial communities move forward projects they have long discussed.? The projects also means 1,650 new construction and 1,135 permanent jobs. With the BRA imprimatur, these projects will go before the zoning commission for the final green light (except for the already-approved Waterside Place). Above is the largest, the $300M, 590k SF Liberty Mutual HQ at 157 Boylston St., to be developed by owner Liberty Mutual Gp, development manager Colliers Meredith & Grew, CBT Architects, Turner Construction, and legal counsel Goulston & Storrs. Construction is set to start in October and be completed late 2012.
BREAKING NEWS:  BRA Approves $573 Mil
Perhaps a more telling barometer of the market, The Drew Co. plans to move ahead after many years with new construction on Commonwealth Flats at the South Boston Waterfront. Scaling down prior plans, the developer received BRA approval yesterday for Phase I of Waterside Place. It is a $132M, 376k SF high-rise with 234 rental apartments, 72k SF of retail (including a grocery and pharmacy), parking for 185 vehicles, and 14k SF of office/flex space. ?We're confident The Drew Co. can get this started,?John tells us. ?They're speaking with tenants and financing sources and wouldn?t submit this plan if they weren't serious.? It's also a strong signal that the Waterfron t, a 200-acre area the city is eager to see built up, can now support more growth, he says. Construction is planned to start next spring.
408-room hotel complex at 275 Albany St.-
Also approved was a $125M, 408-room hotel complex at 275 Albany St. in the South End. The development team—Normandy Real Estate Partners and Bluehawk Investments, ADD Inc., Mel Shuman (legal), Howard Stein Hudson (transportation consultants) and Epsilon Associates (permitting consultant)— plans to start construction early 2012. In Roxbury, the Dudley Greenville project —a $16M, 43-unit affordable-rental housing complex with 3k SF of retail and commercial space—is expected to get in the ground fall, 2011. Meanwhile, the BRA recommends that new buildings around the Greenway be 175 to 200 feet tall along the waterfront to 400 to 600 feet on the city side. Some developers are pleased but the height limit will thwart a plan by The Chiofaro Co. to build a high-rise. The BRA intends to incorporate the rules into the zoning code, John says.