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Marketplace, office building planned for Nubian Square

The 329,000-square-foot complex would also include room for artists.

A veteran Boston developer wants to put a mixed-use office building and marketplace on a prime piece in Nubian Square.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency on Thursday awarded a two-acre site known as the Blair Lot to Nubian Ascends, a team led by longtime Boston builder Richard Taylor. It’s currently a parking lot between Washington Street and Harrison Avenue across from the Bolling Building.

Taylor is partnering with private equity firm Almiranta Capital and the curators of the neighborhood’s Black Market retail incubator on a 329,000-square-foot project that would bring market-rate office space, a marketplace, and cultural hall with artists’ work space to the square.


When fully occupied, the building would accommodate about 900 jobs, with a goal that at least half be people of color, according to Nubian’s proposal. The space for artists and neighborhood entrepreneurs is designed, in part, to boost small business development in Roxbury.

“Our development team is excited about the opportunity to activate Nubian Square with education and medical office tenants, local food and culinary entrepreneurs, as well as art, dance, and entertainment, beginning the physical transformation of the former Dudley Square to Nubian Square,” Taylor said.

The city and neighborhood groups have worked for years to bring sustained investment to Nubian — formerly known as Dudley — Square. Various studies have suggested the area needs more office space to bring daytime customers to street-level businesses, along with family-friendly restaurants and nighttime options that will attract nearby residents. This project, which would include five stories of office space and a food hall run in partnership with Commonwealth Kitchen, could help fill both needs.

The Blair lot — which the city has owned since the 1980s — was one of four sites in Nubian Square that the BPDA put out to bid in 2018. Taylor’s group was one of two firms to submit a proposal. The other withdrew after financing fell through because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Taylor’s group is pushing forward with the $126 million project, which includes $30 million in equity from Almiranta.


Next, it will file more specific plans with BPDA and the project will go through neighborhood review. Construction could start next year

The BPDA board approved several other notable projects Thursday, during its last meeting of the year.

It signed off on a 10-story, 380,000-square-foot lab building on Harbor Street in the Seaport’s Raymond L. Flynn Marine Industrial Park. The project, led by a subsidiary of downtown tower-builder Millennium Partners, was once envisioned as a far-larger research and development complex that would help fund a $100 million network of gondolas from South Station to the edge of the Seaport. But a deal fell through to purchase part of the site, and it was scaled back.

The board also approved tweaks to a plan to redevelop the Dock Square Garage, near Faneuil Hall, by replacing its upper floors with condominiums.

In addition, it voted to approve a 273-unit residential building in the Readville section of Hyde Park, a 151-unit apartment building on Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton, a new station for WBZ radio and television along Soldier’s Field Road in Allston, and one of the largest “compact living” projects the city has yet seen, on Linden Street in Allston.

Tim Logan can be reached at Follow him @bytimlogan.