Fenway needs more R&D space, developer says in proposing change from residential to office/lab space in Landmark Center expansion

Proposed Landmark Center extension

Architect's rendering of new office and lab building.

The owner of Landmark Center in the Fenway has submitted revised plans to the BPDA for a major expansion that calls for a 14-story office and lab building, rather than a four-building, 600-unit residential complex approved by the city three years ago.

"Market conditions have changed considerably since 2014," when the then BRA approved a Landmark Center expansion heavy on residential use, Samuels & Associates' lawyer said in filing with the BPDA this week about the project, which would wrap around the existing former Sears building.

Another key change: The company will keep the current parking garage, which means no Wegmans in the Fenway's immediate fugure. The plans the BPDA approved in 2014 called for its replacement with a new garage topped by a "podium" atop which Wegmans would build its first Boston supermarket.

In its filing, Samuels explained the change from residential to more than 500,000 square feet of office and lab space on the 9-acre parcel:

The Proponent has succeeded in bringing new types of office tenants to the office component of the Van Ness, located at 1325 Boylston Street, including technology companies, data analytics, and lab tenants. With the successful lease-up of the Van Ness, the Fenway has emerged as a business hub for tenants seeking knowledge workers.

Expected tenants would be companies or institutions in "high-tech, medical and academic fields."

Samuels is still planning on building a "destination food hall serving gourmet local food offerings." and says it will convert two acres into parkland connected to the Emerald Necklace - roughly half coming by turning the current Best Buy parking lot into open space.

The plans also call for demolishing the building at Brookline Avenue and Fullerton Street that now houses Blick - which will be rented new space elsewhere in the complex:

This building is problematic as it is unattractive, contains blank facades, and overhangs the sidewalk on Fullerton Street.

Some of the open-space and sidewalk work is already under way, but the bulk of the project - including construction of the office/lab building - could begin in 2019. Construction of the building would take roughly 18 months, followed by another 12 months of fitting out the internal space to specific tenants' needs, Samuels says.

Renderings from the new filing:

Landmark Center proposal
Landmark Center proposal
Landmark Center proposal

Revised Landmark Center proposal (23M PDF).



Free tagging: 


Enough windows?

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How about a little character developers?

"Widen" Brookline Avenue

It might be time to eliminate parking on one side of Brookline Avenue between Jersey Street (Yes, no Yawkey Way, no Pumpsie Green Place, no Rice Road) and Park Drive.

The street is configured for 1950's traffic and not the sheer volume of pedestrians that use it now.

The loss of a few spaces, wider sidewalks, a bike lane, and traffic calming would be a good use of the leaf bags full of tax dollars that are being generated there.

If you want to park, go into the Landmark Center and have fun with all the spaces which were laid out to comfortably hold Mini Coopers and 84 VW Rabbits and nothing else or go under one of Mr. Samuel's other developments and park there.

And in 2 years...

By on

They'll say they're not doing the park anymore, but they'd like to add another building.

Park is going in

By on

The park is already under construction, they've been moving pretty fast.

The city should have more

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The city should have more stringent drop dead dates and also have a instakill clause in every approval to the effect that revisions would require the developer to voluntarily withdraw the previous permit in order to even have the new one considered, in effect starting from zero, and maybe ending the incessant bait and switch shenanigans. I hope this gets denied. It would send a message that 3 years is more than long enough to be a squatter on your own project.

Fenway needs affordable housing

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That's not this, but the "live/work in the Fenway" axiom isn't coming to fruition. Ask a software developer working in the area who still has to commute from outside Boston because of the high cost of new "uxury" apartments and condos.

I'm curious

How much money do parking garages make, and would it be more than rent from a mid-range supermarket?

What is your source of info - do you work for a parking company?

My source?

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They charge for parking, hence they make money.

As for whether they are maximizing their profit, I dunno. But read the last bit I wrote, as it may be germane.

I see your point

They charge for parking, hence they make money.

This isn't always true, though - not if their operating expenses and rent exceed revenue.

It would be good to have an idea of the revenue per square foot various alternatives generate when looking at these developments, as it might illustrate the choices being made (especially since Landmark already has a parking garage).

It would be interesting in general, as many communities are seeing different sorts of multi-use and reuse proposals being floated for what is currently commercially-zoned property.