It might be starting to feel like construction is happening on every block in Boston.
The building boom the city has been experiencing saw the Boston Planning and Development Agency approve almost $7 billion in new development in 2018, with the Boston Business Journal calling it a “groundbreaking year for groundbreakings.”
Jonathan Greeley, director of development review in the BPDA, told Boston.com that on any given day in Boston there are more than 100 large construction sites within the city limits.
“What we find exciting is that for years and years in Boston a lot of the construction activity was kind of limited to core downtown areas,” he said. “And one of the things that’s been a real transition in recent years is that that development activity has spread out across the city, which means that more and more of the city is starting to see more of the benefits of new development. Everything from new housing, new office, new retail — so that’s something that we’re generally really excited about.”
With so many projects getting underway and going through the approval process, we asked Greeley to name some of the developments the public should keep an eye on in 2019.
“There are a lot of exciting projects happening all over the city — we’re excited about all of them,” he said.
Below, nine developments in Boston that will be continuing, starting, or completing in the coming year.
The ground-breaking ceremony for this new tower, set to become the fourth-tallest in Boston standing at 691 feet, took place in October, and Greeley said it remains one of the projects the city is excited to see underway in 2019.
“It’s the first, new significant office tower Downtown in some time,” he said. “So that helps Downtown keep up with the Seaport and Back Bay and North Station, as well as places outside the city like North Point and Kendall Square where there’s lots of commercial activity happening.”
The tower, which will sit on the previously city-owned site of the shuttered Winthrop Square Garage, will hold about 1.6 million square feet of residential, office, retail, and dining space, including a “Great Hall” at the base of the building to serve as a public space connecting the square to the Financial District. Greeley said the belief is that the downtown project, slated to finish construction in 2022, will bring “lots of different benefits” to the city.
The sale of the property at 115 Winthrop Square to Millennium Partners will generate more than $150 million for Boston, much of which has been slated to fund affordable housing and park investments in the city.
“It also helps just kind of revitalize the area,” he said. “We think there’s going to be a general uplifting impact throughout Winthrop Square. They’re investing in a park right in front of their doorstep, and we hope it’s an incentive to have a lot of other buildings invest in their downtown core and also help the downtown have a brand new office tower.”
Greeley said the ongoing work on this long-awaited mixed-use project is another city residents should keep an eye on in 2019.
“[It’s] another good example of a multi-phase project where a developer is kind of revitalizing the existing building, remodeling the existing office space in Fenway Center, but also adding to it,” he said.
The $500 million construction project near Fenway Park is comprised of four buildings and a parking garage, ranging from 7 to 22 stories, that will extend along and above the Mass. Pike. Divided into two phases of construction, upon completion it will total around 819,000 square feet and bring about 500 residential units to the neighborhood.
In 2019, redevelopment is also expected to be underway at the site of the former headquarters for The Boston Globe, which is getting new life as an “urban innovation campus.” The property at 135 Morrissey Blvd. where newspapers were once churned out has been renamed “The Beat” — standing for “the Boston Exchange for Accelerated Technology” — by development firm Nordblom. The developers envision reconfiguring the 695,000-square-foot building into a space that will attract creative office, technology, light manufacturing, life science, and retail tenants with a fitness center, food hall, and maybe even a brew pub.
Greeley said he and his colleagues at the city are hopeful the renovated site will serve as an anchor in the “emerging neighborhood” on the edge of Columbia Point
“I think it’s interesting to have it go from one use to several others and to having an incubator space, to having a restaurant there, to have maybe a brewery there, to have offices there,” Greeley said of the site’s revitalization. “I think it’s exciting to see. Here’s an asset that has a new life reimagined by somebody else, and it shows you the vast opportunities real estate redevelopment can bring to the city.”
Developers plan to create four buildings and 1.6 million square feet for office, lab, and biomedical uses on the former site of the Flower Exchange in the South End. Greeley said the project, which is expected to begin construction in 2019 at 540 Albany St., is being reimagined as a 21st century commercial campus, complete with traditional office space and some research and development.
The hope, he said, is that the site’s location will allow for some “synergy” between the neighboring Boston Medical Center and Boston University Medical Campus and begin to “knit together the edges” around the expressway.
“We think [it’s] an exciting opportunity to revitalize or enliven that Albany Street corner that hasn’t seen a lot of activity in a number of different years,” Greeley said. “So that’s really exciting, and it’s a really good example of the creation of a commercial space in a robust neighborhood.”
The project includes the creation of a one-acre park, and the goal is to have the complex completed and occupied in 2021.
“[Exchange South End] will be the city’s next life science innovation hub,” the builders said of the project. “With cutting edge architecture and a dynamic ground floor with eateries, culture, and retail, XSE will reflect the rich fabric of Boston’s South End. Taking advantage of the abundant residential options in the neighborhood, Exchange South End will be the ideal live, work, play location for companies looking to attract today’s top talent.”
This project — a 1.26 million-square-foot mixed-use development that will rise above and adjacent to Back Bay Station — is another that could begin construction in 2019. The proposal includes a new office building with ground floor retail, two new residential buildings, a vertical retail expansion of the existing Back Bay Station, and partial redevelopment of the existing 165 Dartmouth Street Garage.
“That project will bring a significant reinvestment in the public realm and transit, as well as creating new places for people to live and work,” Greeley said. “And it’s an exciting project right on top of a train station — it doesn’t get more transit-oriented development than that.”
The project, which began with planning work under Mayor Tom Menino, will bring with it “significant reinvestment” in the Orange Line, he said.
“The MBTA is responsible for the platform level investments — ventilation, etc., but then Boston Properties will be investing in the station itself,” Greeley said. “That experience when you’re either leaving the city or arriving in the city — investing in a way that’s befitting of a major gateway to the city and also creating new pedestrian pathways both around the site and within the site to improve conductivity through a really significant block, in between Dartmouth and Clarendon.”
The mixed-use development proposed in Dorchester got its approvals a couple of years ago, but Greeley said he expects it will go through a bit of a revision before construction can begin. New managers took over the proposal for Glover’s Corner that will turn a series of parking lots and abandoned buildings into 487 units, a new park, and approximately 37,000 gross square feet of retail.
Greeley said the city is “excited to continue to evolve” the project with the new owners and management. Despite the anticipated tweaks, construction could still begin by the end of the year, he said.
“Definitely by early 2020,” he said.
Some elements of this three-phased redevelopment of a 20-acre parcel along Rutherford Avenue in Charlestown are under construction while others remain in permitting. Greeley said the hope is that 2019 will “unlock new development opportunities for the site,” revitalizing the property that was once the home to Hood dairy company into a space for 21st century offices and research and development to “fit the ever evolving knowledge economy of Boston.”
“New roads, new parks, new public realm, localizing the asset with neighborhood amenities, those kinds of things,” he said of the vision for the site.
The latest version of the master plan for the site proposes spreading about 1.7 million square feet of development across 11 buildings with uses ranging from commercial to hotel to residential to retail.
Construction of the city’s third-tallest tower is expected to finish in 2019, according to Greeley, who called the 61-story building a “new milestone in the Boston skyline.”
“It kind of creates a new marker for the beginning of the high spine,” he said.
City officials have touted the tower, which will contain luxury condos and a hotel, for its “significant” benefits to affordable housing in the city. According to WBUR, to meet the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy, the tower’s developers are building 28 affordable housing units in Roxbury.
This three-phased project at the site of the old Boston Garden will bring a number of “dynamic impacts,” according to Greeley.
“Most importantly, it creates a brand new entrance off of Causeway to the [TD] Garden and North Station and creates a more seamless pedestrian experience across Causeway and connecting onto Canal and into Downtown,” he said.
Delaware North, which owns and operates TD Garden, and Boston Properties revealed an inside look at the first phase of the 1.5 million-square-foot project in the fall of 2018, which features the redesigned “front door” to the sports arena.
The second and third phases of the project include a tower with about 440 residential units, a hotel building filled with about 269 guest rooms, and a 651,500-square-foot office building. Verizon is slated to take up more than 450,000 square feet in the Hub on Causeway once the project is fully completed in 2021.