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Developers unwrap plans for eight-story life-sciences buildings as replacement for old WBZ studios and antenna in Allston

Rendering of proposed new buildings on Soldiers Field Road

Rendering by Gensler.

National Development and the Mount Vernon Co. today filed detailed plans for the three-building, 700,000-square-foot complex they want to build on the 6.3-acre Soldiers Field Road site that has been home to WBZ since the 1940s.

National and Mount Vernon hope to begin two years of construction on the first phase of the project, which will include just one of the three buildings and which will let what is now just WBZ-TV get its new studios built right next door to the site. Once WBZ is all settled in and happy, the developers will then tear down its old facilities and put up the remaining two buildings in the project, aimed at providing yet more space for the Boston area's burgeoning life-sciences industry.

The antenna, which had long served as an emergency backup for WBZ-AM, came down last fall, a couple of years after CBS sold off the newsradio station and it moved to Medford.

The developers say the project will help extend the nascent Western Avenue research corridor, not to be confused with the well underway Guest Street research corridor to the south.

The project calls for a 700-space underground garage and new walkways between Herter Park and Smith Field.

The Project reimagines the Site through the lenses of community and connectivity, sustainability, health & wellness, and scale, with buildings that reinforce the urban street edge and new open space that creates a publicly accessible corridor through the Site

The developers continue that the buildings will blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, rather than overwhelm it or the riverside park:

The Project building design concept is rooted in simplicity and performance. Taking cues from the highly functional industrial buildings in the neighborhood, the rectangular buildings will fit with the fabric and context of the neighborhood. These simple forms will be distinctive and well detailed and will serve as a calm backdrop to both adjacent parks. The overall architectural concept is completely integrated with the Site and the exterior spaces it creates.

1170 Soldiers Field Rd. filings and calendar.

The view from across Soldiers Field Road:

View from across Soldiers Field Road
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With drawers half-open.

Room not fully cleaned. No allowance.

Voting closed 4

pizza delivery on a busy night.

alternative interpretation #3

amateur piece of shit overlooking the Charles.

Voting closed 6

If it was a uniform surface you'd probably complain that it was boring and demand a more articulated facade.

Voting closed 10

Seems like every new proposal is for life-science space. Is it just trendy developer-speak, or do they get actual tax breaks or beneficial treatment or something?

Voting closed 23

Mostly that'll be lab space - you can't just operate a lab in any old office building. It requires a more power, more ventilation, more storage, higher ceilings, heavier equipment, that kind of thing.

There is less of it around than there is regular office space, and biotech in the region is really hot now, so there's rising demand.

I also suspect that it's also appealing to developers because it's well-suited for jobs that can't be done from home. You can update a website or run payroll or write software at home, but autoclaves and tissue culture labs and fume hoods are not in anyone's home office.

Voting closed 34

Now THAT'S a business model!

Voting closed 16

no one can get financing for residential or office buildings so everything has to be a lab. we are going to be stuck with a lot of huge crap buildings when the bubble bursts

Voting closed 17

They're going to install a forest on the median of Soldiers Field Rd!

Voting closed 7

At least it looks less offensive than BU's Jenga tower of a data science building going up at BU East. I hope they focus on preserving as much of the existing greenspace as possible, including the mature trees along Soldiers Field.

Voting closed 12