In the first week of October, Berkeley Investments filed a project notification form with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, proposing a multiuse residential, work, and retail development on the vacant site at 176 Lincoln St. in Allston.
Berkeley Investments has leased the site from landlord Harvard University, proposing to develop the 5.2-acre lot with 548,000 square feet of office and life sciences space, 20,000 square feet of retail space, and 314 residential units.
Now that the Boston-based real estate investment and development company has had its say, it’s time to listen to the city and community, as the proposal enters the review process, said Morgan Pierson, director of development for Berkeley Investments.
“It will be an engaging process for all of us,” Pierson said. “We take nothing for granted. We admire the neighborhood’s dynamic new growth, and we are very open to hear from the community. It’s in its infancy,” he added of the project, “and we intend to keep our eyes and ears open.”
As the surrounding streets saw considerable renewal into a more pedestrian friendly neighborhood, with new retail and residents moving in, the building and site at 176 Lincoln was something of a neighborhood blight.
“I went by the site often when I was working at another company on Everett Street. I always thought it is this monolithic precast building that is so out of place,” Pierson said.
“The building had sat vacant for something like 30 years after several attempts to develop it,” he continued. “It’s a five-acre site with a lot of potential, and the property had been underutilized for so long. [Our project] will be a part of revitalization in an area that’s grown more exciting these last five years. This is a chance to connect to all that, which we’re very excited about.”
The transit-friendly development, set 350 feet from the Boston Landing MBTA station, is designed as a self-contained live-work neighborhood that will include underground parking.
“The apartments are planned to complement the lab and office space and create an innovation village. There will be studio to three-bedroom apartments, and town houses more in line with the row houses [already] in the neighborhood.”
Berkeley Investments is keen to bring in craftspeople and artists, adding a “maker alley,” said Pierson, and 10 artist life-work spaces: “The artist units will be at street level and will open up to allow the artists to show their work,” he added.
The artist homes are part of an affordable housing designation of 15 percent, 2 percent more than the BPDA requirement, creating 47 affordable units in total.
Berkeley Investments has designated two acres of the site as open space for community interaction and greater livability.
“We think of this as one of the first post-COVID constructions in the Boston area, and our strategy is to be thoughtful about its impact on how we live and work,” Pierson said. “I’m really excited about the office space — there will be lots of outdoor seating areas with conference capability.
“We’ve seen how the restaurants that have kept going this summer are the ones with patios,” he continued. “The retail will have above-average patio space. It’s something we’re now thinking strongly about.”
Correction: The number of affordable housing units earmarked at the site is 47, not 37. Boston.com regrets the error.