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New Balance seeks new office, sports complex in Brighton

Sports apparel giant New Balance is proposing to expand its Brighton campus with a new headquarters building, a track and field center, shops and restaurants, and a hockey rink.

The development would take place on 14 acres the company wants to be known as Boston’s new “health and wellness district,’’ on Guest Street near the Massachusetts Turnpike. New Balance’s real estate arm, New Brighton Landing LLC, filed plans for the project with city regulators this week.

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In addition to a new headquarters, the company said it wants to build as many as three new office buildings that would be occupied by other “like-minded’’ businesses, along with a boutique hotel, sports-related retail shops, restaurants, and a public park.

The project “seeks to create an anchor for renewed activity along the Guest Street corridor, focused on job creation, health and wellness, sporting activities, public open space, and vast improvements to public infrastructure,’’ Lawrence Kaplan, manager of New Brighton Landing, wrote in the filing.

The company is also seeking construction of a new commuter rail station on Everett Street, although a spokeswoman said that part of the project is still under discussion with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Many in the community have long pushed the idea of adding a train stop along the Framingham commuter rail line, which runs through Brighton but does not stop there.

New Balance did not release specific details about the size and shape of the buildings, which would be built on two rectangular sites along the Mass. Pike. The land is now covered with parking lots and low-rise buildings.

The company built a large office building at the location in 2000.

Its new proposal comes after a years-long tug of war over redevelopment of the area. The prior owner of much of the land, Marathon Realty Corp. of Newton, had pursued construction of a Lowe’s home improvement store on the site. But New Balance publicly pitched a competing vision for the property that included several aspects of the project it is now pursuing.

In June 2010, the Boston Redevelopment Authority issued a letter rejecting the Lowe’s proposal and calling for a more detailed study of the area. Marathon Realty’s president, David Wanger, said Lowe’s then pulled out of the project, and he sold about 9 acres to New Balance last March for $21 million.

A spokeswoman for New Balance declined to provide a cost estimate for its development proposal, although a prior version was valued at about $250 million. According to its website, New Balance employs more than 4,000 people around the globe and reported 2010 worldwide sales of $1.78 billion. It has about 560 employees in Boston.

The company will spend the next several months meeting with community groups and city officials to craft a more detailed vision for the site. It will need permits from the BRA and other city agencies before it can start construction.

Alana Olsen, executive director of Allston Village Main Streets, a nonprofit civic improvement group, said she is excited about New Balance’s plans and the potential for other development in the area.

“There are few areas in the city left that have such huge development opportunity,’’ Olsen said.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.
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