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South End Developments to Watch Out For

South End is a neighborhood in Boston with so much to offer. It has a beautiful location with Chinatown bordering the area, along with Roxbury and the Back Bay. The commercial district is along Columbus Avenue, Harrison Avenue, and Tremont Street.

Today, it is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, especially economically. Some townhouses are worth seven figures and are close to massive housing projects with a subsidy from the government and other institutions. Additionally, South End has become quite famous for artists as it is where many of them live and work. There are also pricey restaurants in the area that draw locals and people from surrounding suburbs. Of course, there are places for affordable food and trendy boutiques, and it seems like several more will appear in the coming years.

Almost 1k Residential Units in Harrison Avenue Alone

Early last year in March, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved two projects that will soon feature mixed-use developments in the neighborhood. Together, these two projects will bring a total of 974 units, which will be for residential use in Harrison Avenue.

The first project is called the Harrison Albany Block, which will consist of a 700,000 square feet project and will encompass a full block right at East Dedham Street, Harrison Avenue, Albany Street, and East Canton Street.

For this particular project, a total of 650 residential units will be leased for those who will want to live in the neighborhood. These spaces will be constructed, although some of them will be from the existing building and will just be renovated. According to the developers, there will be 65 affordable rental units for the potential residents.

As a mixed-use development, the Harrison Albany Block will also feature 20,000 square feet of space, which will be allocated for cultural and retail shops. The building will also assign 80,000 square feet for offices, while the residents will have ample parking space since the developers plan to give one for each.

The second project is currently known as the 370-380 Harrison Avenue development. For this project, it will take the location of Quinzani’s Bakery, which is approximately one mile from the first construction mentioned above. For the 370-380 Harrison Avenue project, it will have a total of 324 residential units, which will be constructed in the building.

Specifically, it will have 232 apartments for rent, along with 92 condo units. According to the developers, 85 of the units here will be affordable. The ground floor will consist of 8,500 square feet and will be used for retail.

The mile-long stretch of developments at Harrison Avenue is indeed something that the citizens are looking forward to since it will bring almost a thousand residential units in the area.

More Developments in Harrison Avenue and Nearby Areas

The second project above is just a block away from the Ink Block, which is a mixed-use project with a budget of $250 million. It will have apartments and condos as well and will also include a Whole Foods grocery and some restaurants.

Harrison Avenue is also where the eight-story office will be built over an existing parking garage that already has three stories. The budget for this 321 Harrison Avenue project is $80 million, and it has already been approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) back in 2016. This particular project will be right across from the Whole Foods grocery store.

The garage will remain, but it will be reconfigured so that it will have 240 more parking spaces that the tenants, visitors, and employees will use. There will also be 50 more spaces, which can be used by the public.

Also in the same year as the 321 Harrison Avenue project’s approval, the proposal for 46 Wareham Street in the same neighborhood was also accepted by BRA. Initially, however, this plan was already approved in 2015. Unfortunately, there was a notice that required some changes, so the authorities had to review it once again. The 64,539 square feet project will form a six-story mixed-use building at the site where a vacant warehouse stands, which already has four stories.

This project will also include commercial, retail, or office space that will take 32,875 square feet of space. For the residential units, there will be 18 condos in the building, and two of them will be as work or live areas for artists.

Also nearby is the 13-story complex that will be for residential use for now. Although it has not been approved, the developers have already submitted the proposal for one of the busiest block sections in the city at 112 Shawmut Avenue. The project included a 155-unit complex, which was filed to the BPDA last May of 2017.

The site is just a block from the Ink Block residential development, which will already have 76 units of condos and is now under construction. The proposal also entailed adding more stories to the existing building, along with a loft-style office that will have 70,000 square feet of space.

Aside from the 155 units, this proposal, if approved, will have a ground floor café as well as 128 parking spaces. The submitted letter of intent from the developers did not specify whether the units will be as condominium homes or apartments for lease.

The developers purchased the six-story building at 112 Shawmut Avenue two years ago, which was worth $26.2 million. In the mid-90s, it was sold to the previous owners, and it was just $2.2 million for its initial price.

“Co-Living” Project in the Neighborhood

Aside from all these mentioned developments, a Newton-based developer expressed its plans to create a “co-living” building with 245 residential units. This specific building will become the last piece of the Ink Block project in the neighborhood. According to the developer, Ink Block, when completed, will become the gateway to the community for anyone who is in downtown Boston.

The developer partnered with a firm that works with apartment buildings that have small units yet come with amenities like the ones at a luxury hotel. The partnership will lead to developing the co-living space that will be named 7INK. The concept is to have smaller than standard housing units, but they come with extra perks. Co-living is not something new and has been around for quite some time in many cities, especially those where the cost of living has hit the roof.

The units in this sizeable co-living development will all be furnished and will have complimentary cleaning every week. The regular weekly service will provide the residents with fresh towels and linens, along with bath amenities that they have consumed.

All the living spaces will have WiFi and cable TV, along with different activities that will include socializing with other residents.

According to the letter submitted to the Boston Planning and Development Agency in November last year, the proposed building would become the new alternative to residential units that are not available in the city. If approved, the project will become a residential model that comes with enhanced service and adequate spaces for amenities despite the smaller-sized units.

The developers still have not disclosed the prices of the future units but the other firm they plan to work with furnished studios in Pittsburgh with a $500 deposit and $1,564 monthly rent as the base price. The developers are looking forward to the start of this project, which they want to begin in late 2018.

7INK, along with the co-living program is considered an excellent innovation for the Ink Block development, according to the people behind this project. From the built-in setup of the Whole Foods Market, the fitness retailers and the restaurant to Marriott’s AC Hotel and the Underground, the location is indeed perfect for co-living.

This project will be at 217 Albany Street where the site contains a two-story building, which will be demolished to signal the start of the development. The developers purchased the parcel back in 2015, and they said they planned to file a formal notification form by December of 2017.

Tower Project for the Back Bay/South End Gateway

After several legal procedures and some modifications in the plan, the developers of the Back Bay Station finally received approval for their proposal. The billion-dollar bid of the developers involved the formation of a critical air-rights project on top of the Back Bay Station of the MBTA. This particular project has received unanimous approval from the BPDA in November 2017.

This project covers a 1.37 million square feet of space that will be used for a mixed-use development. The approval took almost two years after the notification of the developers’ intent for the large-scale project that will involve air-rights at the station. Back Bay Station is currently the third busiest in all of Boston.

Due to the approval, it means that the projects at the major transit hubs of Boston, namely Back Bay Station, South Station, and North Station, will receive the official endorsement from the city.

Currently, construction is already active at The Hub, which is also another project of the developers at the North Station’s Causeway. It just landed a deal that will provide it with more space, specifically 147,000 square feet more to be used as headquarters for Rapid7, a cyber-security company.

Meanwhile, the board of BPDA also approved for an extension for the development of the South Station expansion. As for the recommended project that features Back Bay and South End, it will emphasize a towering 26-story office building that will span approximately 600,000 square feet. The project also consists of a 28-story building that will be used for residential purposes. Another tower, which will rise 35 stories high, will also be built. Together, these two towers will provide as many as 600 units.

The same project will also include 60,000 square feet of space, which will be for retail use. Back Bay Station will also be vertically expanded to one level, and the station will also receive a significant overhaul. Offsite, there will be more units with a total of 90 affordable ones for the potential residents.

According to the developers, they want to focus on affordable housing. They have agreed with the authorities to create a preservation fund amounting to $3 million, which will help mitigate the effects of the project. One of the controversial impacts of the project involves the shadows it will cast on the remarkable Old South Church.

The developers will also contribute another $3 million, which will serve as an addition to Boston’s efforts of creating more affordable housing for the low and middle-income families. Many groups, including the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), have expressed their support for the upcoming project.

More Developments in the Future

Boston University has talked about its plans to expand and renovate the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at the Medical Campus in the neighborhood. The proposal is expected to reach completion in three phases by the year 2020.

Currently, the dental school already spans more than 84,000 square feet and is settled at 100 E. Newton Street. Boston University wants to build almost 42,000 square feet of space with seven levels. The educational institution also has a plan to renovate 53,100 square feet but will not touch 31,100 square feet of remaining space. The result of the whole project, if approved, is a building that spans a total of 126,100 square feet.

The project will help Boston University to take advantage of the opportunity to advance in dental medicine and its services, according to the BU Trustees who filed for their intent with the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

The institution has noted that there are over 800 students, along with 400 staff members who use the facility on a daily basis. Over 33,000 patients also receive care on the site with almost 150,000 patients visiting every year.

The goal of the university is to make sure and make use of the right size for the school. According to them, everyone from the students to the other users of the facility will benefit from the expansion. The students will naturally have better space, which will improve their learning experience and they will have more areas that will allow them to achieve innovative collaboration with other people. The latter will help prepare them for their future careers.

As for the patients who receive treatment and those who visit for an appointment will enjoy the new space as it will bolster the efforts of the university to provide dental care and services. Additionally, the design goals of the project include the enhancement of clinical and instructional spaces. Relocation of the Simulation Learning Center is also one of the top priorities, along with a much larger location for collaboration and socializing for the students.

The façade of the building will be updated as well while creating a better entryway for the students, staff, faculty, and patients.

Another construction that many people are looking forward to is the Exchange South End at 540 Albany Street. It will consist of 246,145 square feet of land and 1,595,860 square feet of building size. Exchange South End is a redevelopment of the existing Flower Exchange building, and it will have enough spaces for different purposes, including labs, biomedical uses, and biotech. A 1.1-acre piece of land may be devoted to an open area that will be open to the public. There will also be ground floor retail and other uses, including a 30,000 square feet of space that will be for civic and cultural purposes.

The city’s authorities received formal notification of the plans just last September 2017 in which the developers expressed their interest in redeveloping the 5.6-acre site of the Boston Flower Exchange. The firm purchased the location back in 2016, and the developers are now targeting to start construction during the fall season this year.

Exchange South End, if approved, will contain a total of four new buildings and will approximately run to 1.6 million square feet. The structures will be used for life science research, technology, and commercial purposes.

Let us also not forget that just quite recently, Amazon has announced that Boston is one of the top contenders for the potential cities for its second headquarters. The others include Denver, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago. Although Boston primarily pitches the 161-acre land, which served as a horse racing track in Revere and East Boston called Suffolk Downs, the city also mentioned South End, along with Roxbury and Back Bay.

While it may seem like the neighborhood is not the priority for the Amazon HQ2, to have it mentioned out of all the communities in the city means there is indeed something special about it.

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