The Easy Part First: Fenway Center Moves Ahead
Construction on a stalled air rights project proposed near Fenway Park could begin soon since the Massachusetts Department of Transportation agreed to let the developer start with the land-based phase.
The state agency voted Monday to let developer John Rosenthal’s company, Meredith Management, build two apartment buildings on land he owns at Beacon and Maitland streets near Kenmore Square. An expensive deck over the Massachusetts Turnpike would be included in a later phase, the Boston Globe reports. Rosenthal's five-building, $500M Fenway Center includes the two buildings as well as a 27-story residential tower to be built over the highway, which would be the first air rights project in Boston since the Copley Place mall was built in the 1980s.
Originally approved by the Boston Redevelopment Agency (now known as the BPDA) in 2009, Fenway Center has struggled with financing and permitting due to the complex nature of its construction. While former Mayor Thomas Menino balked at Rosenthal’s request for tax breaks to help the project, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has been more receptive.
MassDOT’s Monday vote gave approval to the $21M, 99-year lease for the development's first phase. The state has until the end of 2020 to negotiate terms for the decking phase over the Mass Pike. If Rosenthal’s firm does not tackle the more complex portion of Fenway Center by then, he and his investors will owe the state a $3M penalty.