Related Beal yesterday filed its detailed plans to remake the Kenmore Square block topped by the Citgo Sign, featuring the replacement of six of the seven buildings and an extensive overhaul of the building that supports the sign.
In its filing with the BPDA, the developer says its plans for retail and office space, which would feature an eight-story building at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Deerfield Street, would "reinvigorate the underutilized and partially vacant buildings" - although many of the vacancies are due to tenants being moved out to make way for the redevelopment of the BU-owned buildings.
The project will help dramatically change the look of Kenmore Square, especially when coupled with the two hotels planned for the other side of Commonwealth Avenue. But the new Related Beal buildings will not dramatically increase the amount of space available for rent: The new buildings would have a total of 216,500 square feet of space, an increase of about 88,000 square feet over the current buildings.
The developer says the new project will mean "very limited incremental impacts" to traffic in the area, in part because you can't get much more transit-oriented than Kenmore Square, what with its Green Line stop, bus service and nearby commuter-rail station. It is proposing to add a 60-space underground garage to the site's existing rear parking lot.
Related Beal discusses some of the design considerations in creating a new block that continues to support Boston's triangular beacon:
The massing of the Commonwealth Building [the new building at Comm. Ave. and Deerfield Street] and Beacon Building are designed to create a dynamic addition to Kenmore Square that does not overwhelm the existing view corridors from key street-level approaches. To achieve this, each additional level angles back toward the Charles River to minimize the perception of the height, thereby granting defined visibility of the Citgo Sign. Overall, the additions complement the heights of the surrounding buildings. The Commonwealth Building steps down to reflect the curvature of the vehicular intersection, creating opportunities for outdoor space at these roof levels with direct views of Kenmore Square.
Related Beal hopes to begin work at the beginning of 2019 and finish by early 2021. In addition to the BPDA, the project will also need approval from the zoning board. Releated Beal said it will also ask the Boston Landmarks Commission to take a look.
Project notification form (37M PDF).