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Skanska Files Plans For 1.75M SF Mixed-Use Project On Simmons University Campus

A rendering of Skanska's plans for a mixed-use project at 305 Brookline Ave. in Boston's Longwood Medical Area.

A major development featuring office, labs, residential, retail and more is being planned for a 5.8-acre piece of Simmons University's campus in the Longwood Medical Area

Skanska USA Commercial Development filed plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency this week for a 1.75M SF mixed-use project at 305 Brookline Ave. 

The plans call for around 1.5M SF of office or lab space, 200 residential units, 47K SF of retail, 12K SF of community space and a 1,039-space underground parking garage. The buildings would be centered around 2.3 acres of public open space, which Skanska said would help "reinvigorate a long, dormant stretch of Brookline Avenue."

The filing, first reported by the Boston Business Journal, comes after Simmons selected Skanska in November to develop on the site, which serves as its residential campus. The university signed a ground lease with the developer and plans to relocate its student housing to a new project on a separate site. 

The developer plans to construct four buildings over the course of the next 15 years. The buildings would range in height from 160 feet to 300 feet. Architecture firm Sasaki is working with Skanska to design the project.

An aerial rendering of Skanska's plans for the Simmons University residential campus on Brookline Avenue.

"The Proposed Project will be a stark contrast to the private, insular residential campus that exists today; because of the need for security and privacy on the existing campus, this land has been gated off from the community for decades," Skanska wrote in the filing. "The Proposed Project, by contrast, will not only open up the Site to the neighborhood, but by featuring 2.3 acres of public open space, it will also invite the public in to experience the site likely for the first time for most."

The developer also plans to upgrade the transportation infrastructure along its stretch of Brookline Avenue by adding a new bus stop shelter, a separated bike lane and improving the sidewalk and pedestrian ramps.  

"More functional sidewalks for bikes and pedestrians along with activating retail uses will reinvigorate portions of Brookline Avenue and improve the connectivity throughout the community," Skanska Vice President Carolyn Desmond wrote in a statement provided to Bisnow.

The BPDA's comment period for the project is open through Feb. 18. The property sits on the edge of the Longwood Medical Area and Fenway neighborhoods, roughly a half-mile from Fenway Park.

The proximity of the major hospitals and universities in the Longwood Medical Area has helped the Fenway-Kenmore Square neighborhood emerge as one of the region's hottest life sciences clusters. As of Q3, the neighborhood had 2.3M SF of lab space, according to Colliers, the largest submarket in Boston proper and the third largest in the region.