Developer files plans to replace the Fenway Star Market with an 11-story life-sciences building
Samuels & Associates, which has been building in the Fenway for a couple decades now, today filed detailed plans with the BPDA for its proposal to replace the Boylston Street Star Market and the neighboring abandoned gas station with an 11-story life-sciences building, new parkland and bike lanes along Park Drive and a "cultural pavilion."
The proposed building, on what is a 2.4-acre lot along Boylston Street between Park Drive and Kilmarnock Street, would, as is the norm along Boylston, also devote the bulk of the ground floor to retail and restaurant use. An underground garage would have space for 416 cars; the building would also have storage space for 255 bicycles.
The Star Market will move across the street into space at the expanded 401 Park complex - the former Landmark Center.
The Project is conceived as a redevelopment that will build upon the recent developments and revitalization of the Fenway area and will continue the positive evolution of the Fenway neighborhood into a vibrant and diverse mixed use urban village. The Project is proposed to include ground floor retail and restaurants along Boylston Street that will activate the streets, with office and R&D uses on the upper floors, and the Cultural Pavilion along Park Drive. The Project design will elegantly define and strengthen the western entrance into the Fenway neighborhood and restore the edge of the Emerald Necklace along Park Drive now occupied by the decommissioned gas station.
The company adds it will work on life-sciences training aimed at providing "Boston residents from disadvantaged backgrounds with the training and skills needed to meet the ever-increasing demand for skilled workers in the life science industry."
What a bird floating above the 401 Park plaza would see:
Samuels says it would be responsible for programming in the flexible-space "cultural pavilion." It didn't specify further, but pointed to its "proven history of activating open space" at 401 Park.
The company expects construction to take 32 months.
The project would be something of a capstone of Samuel's role in transforming Boylston Street from a collection of low-rise garages and fast-food outlets into a new "main street" for Fenway - there aren't all that many low-rise buildings left on the street - but the company says it'll be sticking around for the even longer haul, and says it will continue to add to the 1,200 housing units it's already built in the area - in addition to another 1,000 or so units that other developers have either built or are now constructing.
Samuels has a long-term commitment to continue working with the community for many more years. As part of this future commitment, Samuels plans to create additional housing in the Fenway to continue the neighborhood wide mixed-use development vision.
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Once upon a time, that was supposed to be a Wegmans
moving into the 401 Park buildng.
As I recall
It was Wegmans that backed out. They didn’t want an “urban store” or something.
FWIW, I’m a Wegmans fan but they really are better when there’s more space. The Medford location is already too small.
I’m just surprised there isn’t a Trader Joe’s in the Sim City strip.
Back in the day...
My aunt was a student at Northeastern back in the late 1970s/early 1980s--she graduated in 1981. She lived in one of those two six-story tenements that overlooked the Star Market. As a suburban kindergartener, I remember being absolutely fascinated by the fact that she lived so close to the supermarket--how cool!
Anyway, so 20 years later when I lived in Boston, I always held a soft-spot for those buildings. I guess, 40 years later, still do. They were part of my inspiration to live my own urban experience which is still going strong.
A few years later my aunt lived in this really cool apartment building on Comm. Ave in Brookline (at least I think it was Comm Ave--it was on one of the Green Line branches, so maybe it was Beacon Street,) where each apartment had three levels. The entrance level, then you went downstairs one level to a galley kitchen and probably the bathroom, then down further to the living room and bedroom. Maybe I have what was on each level a little wrong. She said that some of the units went the other way (down to up.) Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I couldn't ever figure out which building that was later on.
More likely it was Beacon, than Comm Ave
While there ARE (or were) a few apartments along Comm Ave opposite BU, there are thousands of apartment units in Brookline along Beacon.
If they don't put in another grocery store the entire Fenway area is going to be a food desert without a single walkable full size store.
The Star/Shaws is moving next door to where the aforementioned Wegmans would have gone, in the same general location as the old Bed Bath and Beyond and next to the Fenway Green Line stop.
Not a good solution
If it's "moving", you know there will be a sizeable gap when there's no supermarket available...and one of the advantages of the current location is that people (for example the elderly residents of the St. Cecilia House) don't have to take their lives into their hands to try to cross over to the Landmark Center (plus it's a much shorter walk for them). Having stores with many needed items close by is really helpful to people in assisted living who want to maintain some degree of independence.
The move is supposed to precede the demolition
I haven't looked at the most recent documents, but the plan has been all along for the new Star to be open before the part of this project requiring demolition of the current store happens.
Is to fix the road, not block the supermarket from moving exactly one block over.
Supermarket aside they'd still need to cross Boylston & Brookline to reach the Green Line and being able to take public transit is a big part of living independently.
The area as a whole is much more pedestrian friendly now than 15 years ago. I remember when Boylston & Brookline was mostly taxi storage and light industrial. It was far worse as a pedestrian as the sidewalk was basically a driveway.
They don't, actually. If they walk across the park (where many of the folks at St Cecilia House spent a lot of time in fair weather), they can access the E line through the MFA parking lot. They have to cross the Fenway, but it's less challenging than those roads.
I used to date
I used to 'date' a guy in the apartments on Peterborough, and he overlooked that Star Market. Easy walk.
Not that Landmark Center is much further away but you gotta cross 2 major roadways to get to it now. Might be a PIA for some people who live in that neighborhood.
Cuts both ways
I've been crossing that horrible intersection from Longwood and points north for 20 years so I won't complain about it being on the other side of the street.
From the rendering above it looks like the Park intersection will be somewhat improved. Not having the gas station will help too. And people living on the Fenway side will be able to cross over at Kilmarnock which isn't as bad.
No question they need to make Boylston more friendly for pedestrians but that's been a problem since forever.
The intersection doesn't
The intersection doesn't really look different to me, except for the removal of the gas station driveways.
Would you say it got better for pedestrians when they daylighted the river and removed the Park Drive u-turn ramp around 2016? The related changes up at the Riverway/Park Drive light were pretty bad for pedestrians, with long Don't Walk lights for no reason when there's no traffic crossing the crosswalk.
And there's no bicycle accommodations anywhere in the whole mess. What's the point of a new cycle track along this one property if it doesn't connect to anything?
It's the other way around for me.
Right now, I need to cross Brookline and Boylston, as well as Beacon and Park Drive, to get to Star. This move will cut that in half. I mostly went to the Whole Foods on Beacon, which just required crossing St. Mary's, but now need to rethink that unless and until we get a new market at that location, which has always had a grocery store since time immemorial, despite the tiny size.
At least for the interim, has a pretty decent grocery section. Food desert is when you have just packaged dense calorie food.
...sure sounds like Target's "groceries".
Fenway Target is different
Have you been to it? It really has some pretty solid grocery offerings. It comes up short on produce, but it's much closer to a grocery store than a convenience store, which is the best you can find in a food desert.
Most larger targets are like that.. hell even some of those "city target' locations (i.e. Porter Sq, Central Sq) have mostly food.
The thing is.. is it fresh? Do they have fruits, veggies, and meat? To me, that qualifies a place as having 'real grocery store items'. Cuz any place can sell boxes of cereal and cans of coffee.. or even gallons of milk. But once you start offering fresh meat and veggies/fruits, its a whole different ball game.
Target has all of that. It just seems like they have more pre-packaged and frozen stuff.. because, well they do, but its limited selections and/or facings. Plus the pre-packaged aisles are compact and stacked high.
Yeah produce is limited, but its not that bad. It depends on the location. The fenway Target location has a decent amount. They might not have a huge selection, but the general "I need a tomato" or "I need some potatoes".. should do the trick.
The prices aren't terrible. Its cheaper than buying food at 7-11 or CVS. Some things might be cheaper at a shaw's/S&S but its comparable.
I don't know why small
I don't know why small independent stores in Boston can't figure this out. In other older American cities, you can get your core groceries at local bodegas and greengrocers. But here, where the stores even exist, they're usually overpriced with poor quality and selection.
I prefer to support independent stores, but I often end up at Target out of necessity.
You aren't buying tomatoes or potatoes at 7-11 or CVS. I don't buy much other than bananas at Target, but there other fresh groceries (limited as they are) seem reasonable.
I don't get to S&S very often, but I have a hard time believing Shaw's is cheaper than Target, at least if not on sale. I got to Whole Foods before Shaws.
Groceries at Wine Press
With the recent and sudden departure of the Whole Foods on Beacon, the Wine Press next door has begun selling groceries. No produce to speak of, but not a bad selection given the limited amount of space (one, two-sided half aisle of shelves and another of refrigerators and freezers): a lot of dairy, including cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, as well as milk; eggs (at least for now!); cold cuts; frozen pizza; at least some meat and fish; olives, pickles, and the like. Since we don't even have a convenience store any more, we'll take what we can get without the arduous trek over to the Star.
I am a die hard
I am a die hard market basket shopper.. and even I know they aren't always the cheapest on some items. And yes, that even includes Stop & Shop & Shaw's sometimes. Not always, but sometimes.
I am making a big assumption its the same across all grocery stores and/or big box retailers with groceries.
Remember Target has alot of buying power, similar to Walmart.. so they can get stuff at very low prices.
The other thing to remember is Stop & Shop and Shaw's.. 'price fix' depending on where the store is and who the competitors are. Market basket.. its the same flyer & prices if you go to the store in Rhode Island, Somerville, or Concord, NH. Stop & Shop and Shaw's.. not so much.
I remember shopping at the Fenway Star before there was a Target. E X P E N S I V E was the name and it was the only game in that area, except for Shaw's Pru and the Brigham Circle Stop & Shop (another $$$$$ store). But I went in there last year and the prices went down because now they have to compete with Target across the street.
So yeah they could be lower in price than Target. It may not be many items but some..
mmm love me some remediated gas station park land
jokes aside, if they do a good job remediating that doesn’t seem like a problem. Ground floor retail and restaurants are good! Parkland is good! The building looks interesting. Are the terraced setbacks a zoning quirk or just for fun from the developer? Sad there’s such a big car hole in the Boylston St facade though. Hope they’ll be able to keep adding housing too to keep up with the office space they’re building.
Rendering needs update
The left-most lane in the first image has been turned into parking/bike lane.
Are you thinking of Brookline
Are you thinking of Brookline Ave? I'm pretty sure the right lane of Boylston westbound is still a right turn lane.
I'm curious about the
I'm curious about the economics of developing on top of the gas station. Will stuff actually grow in that park?
Fond memories of getting coffee at the Dunkin inside that gas station at 3am while waiting to get a Wii at the Best Buy.