State, city to try to redevelop large state parcel near South Station; could mean more housing

Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh this morning announced plans to redevelop land now occupied by a MassDOT office building - originally built for Wang Labs - and a steam plant near South Station into up to 2 million square feet of space for housing and other uses.

At a press conference this morning, Baker said the 5 1/2-acre project at 185 Kneeland St. would also include land owned by Veolia, which runs a steam-generating plant at the site; the company would replace the current large plant with a smaller one.

Baker said the proposal would make a great city even greater by doing something constructive with an underused parcel.

"I never really understood why any of our assets are open space, tall grass, beer cans and burned out automobiles," Baker said.

Mayor Walsh said the project would further help re-knit a city split apart by the construction of I-93.

State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said the state and city will seek community input on just what to do with the land before advertising RFPs from developers. The first public meeting on the parcel is 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, in the first-floor conference room at 185 Kneeland St.

She added that part of the proceeds from any bid would be used to relocate the MassDOT offices now in the building.

Some more details from the governor's office.

Inbound Orange Line stopped at Wellington on report of suspicious men

Transit Police held an inbound train at Wellington after somebody at Oak Grove reported four well dressed "Middle Eastern" men with backpacks split up into two groups and got on separate cars there. Service was stopped for about 15 minutes.

Christian reports a police dog went through the train before it resumed service around 8:50 a.m.

More condos proposed for Centre Street in West Roxbury

Developers Gary Martell and Sean Morrissey want to replace a house now used as law offices on Centre Street at Esther Road with a 12-condo building.

Martell and Morrissey meet with residents on their proposal for 1721 Centre St. at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the community room at the E-5 police station. They have yet to file formal plans with the BRA, but do have a hearing scheduled before the Boston Landmarks Commission on Feb. 23.

Martell is partnering with another developer on a 16-condo proposal on the site of the former West Roxbury Motors at Centre and Willow, across from the Roche Bros. entrance.