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Developer hopes to revamp Mass and Cass with life-sciences building

Rendering of proposed Bradston Street building

Rendering by Embarc.

City Realty this week filed its formal plans for an 11-story, $207-million life-sciences building at 17 Bradston St., at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard.

In addition to being at the epicenter of the city's opioid and homelessness crisis, the 1.1-acre site is also within walking distance of Boston Medical Center, the BU Medical School and BU's biolab research center. It would also be near the new home of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, with which the company says it is in talks "to create a life science workforce training space" for institute students.

City Realty, which has rapidly grown from being a developer of small apartment buildings to a company working much larger projects, says its goal when "conceptualizing this project""

Was to revitalize the neighborhood by replacing the existing outdated buildings with a new state-of-the-art building that will incorporate best practices in energy efficiency and climate resiliency to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. The building’s welcoming design and public realm improvements will create a welcoming presence at the gateway to the Newmarket neighborhood.

This project embodies economic development, placemaking and social stabilization. Its commercial components will contribute to the existing industrial nature of this area of Boston and its innovative, multi-user designed wrapped in elegant architecture offers a model to flexible workspaces of tomorrow.

The developer adds:

The Project is being designed with flexible programming space with a focus on attracting tenants in multiple sectors including healthcare support, offices, pharmaceutical back of house operations, research and development, advanced manufacturing, and local partnerships.

In addition to that space and the Benjamin Franklin space, the building would also have 7,265 square feet of space "targeted at uses which have been identified as at-risk" in the Newmarket area.

The building would replace a three-story office building, a former fast-food restaurant now serving as a church and a parking lot. The new building would have roughly 204 parking spaces in an underground garage.

17 Bradston St. filings and calendar.


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Not. That's the best we can do in a neighborhood that is Ground Zero for the addiction and unhoused problem we have in Boston?

We really need another biotech building. Let's talk Community Benefit, BPDA.

Voting closed 24

I understand your mindset, but I think exactly the other way. Mass & Cass was never designed (or should) be a regional tent city. We shouldn't cede a section of Boston to a regional problem.

What's funny to me is that I'll bet that city councilors and neighborhood groups will line-up behind this project, claiming it will "enhance" the neighborhood. Meanwhile, the idea of putting a Total Wine in South Bay--a shopping plaza that is badly in need of good tenants--has these same people screaming like crazy that it shouldn't be allowed (ignoring that there are multiple closer liquor stores to the tent city).

Voting closed 33

I don't follow the logic here at all.

It sounds like you don't like any new buildings that don't meet your very particular specifications and that you in turn expect to extract "community benefit" out of a developer.

It's this kind of mentality that has eroded housing affordability in Boston (and, yes, contributed to homelessness). No thanks. We don't need NIMBYs to hijack our land use.


Voting closed 27

I read it as asking:
Instead of approving yet another biotech building (which are getting proposed and mostly approved all over the area) - and - since it has been okay to dump a dysfunctional, ill-equipped, no-infrastructure, health & safety impairing, open-air, public shitstorm on that area...
...Why not build a building there that can be used to address that ongoing crisis?

Voting closed 18

Speaking as someone who lives a couple of blocks away: Because we (Newmarket, Lower Roxbury, the South End) do not want it. Few of the people living on the streets and staying in homeless shelters are from this small area, and most are not from Boston, They are here because this city and the suburbs have found it more politically convenient to concentrate all the services in one area far away from them. The more services, the bigger the shit show. Advocate for services in your own area.

Voting closed 15

I wasn't advocating. I was giving my read of what the original comment was saying.

Voting closed 12

It just doesn't solve the intertwined issues of homelessness and addiction for people on the streets there right now. Nor is that City Realty's job. There are dozens of government agencies and non-profits whose primary function is to help solve these issues.

No doubt there's demand from businesses connected to Boston Medical Center and BU Medical -- from the description it could be anything from research labs to doctors' offices to overflow office space for BU. It helps to "fix" Mass & Cass in the same way that development in the Combat Zone led to that area becoming safer while squeezing out less desirable activity.

Voting closed 29

Are not charities - we will be seeing a lot more lab space popping up now that we have a mayor who made residential construction completely unprofitable. Also, you’re in for quite a sticker shock when you’re up for lease renewal.

Voting closed 13

Feel like it's becoming misleading to call Boston a city anymore. It's really just one big college and medical campus.

Voting closed 18

Having just come back from a weekend in Cleveland, where the streets are dead, I gained a renewed appreciation for the vitality that the academic and medical communities provide to Boston. Take those away and Boston is Pittsburg or Cleveland; nice enough cities, but not humming centers of activity.

Voting closed 40

has plenty of academics and a well-respected medical center.

Voting closed 11

I would have agreed with you about that in the 1990s.

I do not agree with you now.

Perhaps a road trip is in order!

Voting closed 12

204 parking spaces? Where is our city leadership? I thought we were trying to undo the mistakes of car-oriented development.

Voting closed 15

That area could really benefit from a master plan. I know there are pushes from transit advocates to turn the fairmount line into a subway line and there is also lots of low-rise existing buildings in that neighborhood but there could be a large benefit to looking at that area on a larger scale since it sits between the south bay mall, the south end , nubian square ,
Newmarket and 93....it's an intersection of so many diverse different interests.

There does appear to be an opportunity to create a vibrant neighborhood here with the appropriate planning.

Voting closed 20

… bad news.

Voting closed 15

There's a glut of life science space being built all over the place -- Somerville, Southie, Allston, Watertown, etc. If I were the one looking to expand my company, there would have to be a really good reason for me to move here instead of anywhere else.

Voting closed 7

If there had been turkeys and airplane noise, I would have gotten Bingo!

Voting closed 4