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Boston moves to approve 900 units of housing

Mayor develops incentives to make some affordable; 425 proposed for site near Christian Science Plaza

Boston regulators this week are poised to approve construction of more than 900 residences in neighborhoods across the city, including a pair of towers at the edge of the Back Bay’s signature Christian Science Plaza.

The projects would jump-start Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s push to build 30,000 housing units in Boston by 2020. The mayor released a new blueprint to reach that goal Monday, emphasizing that the city’s housing stock must become more affordable for the middle class, elderly residents, young professionals, and families.

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“We need to make sure that Boston works for all of its people, not just some of its people,” Menino said Monday. The mayor said the city will begin work immediately to build more units, and use a variety of financial and zoning incentives to make them affordable.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is scheduled to vote Thursday on approvals for six housing projects across the city, including a plan to build 425 residences near the Christian Science Plaza.

The project by Carpenter and Co. and the Pritzker Realty Group would include a 691-foot tower with a hotel and 170 condominiums, and a 285-foot mid-rise building with 255 apartments. The buildings, designed by Hancock Tower architect Henry N. Cobb, would also include stores and restaurants.

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Some neighbors have objected to the height of the buildings, which will probably be part of the discussion at Thursday’s meeting. The project has won approval from the Boston Civic Design Commission.

The BRA is also scheduled to vote on a 323-unit proposal at the former Bartlett bus yard in Roxbury as well as smaller projects in South Boston, East Boston, Mission Hill, and the Fenway.

Menino’s aides have said repeatedly in recent months that they will act swiftly to approve large housing projects and other developments as long as neighborhood concerns are satisfied. The mayor’s impending departure has spurred a flurry of project filings, with developers trying to lock down permits before a new administration takes over.

Though many of the new units will be priced at market rates, the housing plan released Monday proposes to use subsidies to make a greater percentage of them affordable to middle-class buyers. The plan also proposes to increase a fee that developers must pay to fund affordable housing, and spur construction of taller buildings with smaller unit sizes.

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