City officials have signed off on a new studio for WBZ-TV in Allston, which could in turn make room for more large-scale new development in the fast-changing neighborhood.
A venture between two veteran Boston developers — National Development and Mount Vernon Co. — won Boston Planning & Development Authority approval Thursday to build a 63,000-square-foot studio along Soldiers Field Road. It will replace the existing station and open up a large piece of land for development in an area that is exploding with housing and life sciences projects around Harvard University’s Allston campus nearby.
The three-story building will include state-of-the-art studio, production and office space to replace WBZ’s building, which opened in 1948. It will sit alongside the current building, which will remain operational during construction and for several months after, so that Boston’s CBS affiliate can stay on-air throughout.
Once production is fully up and running in the new studio, the developers plan to demolish the old one, which along with its parking lot and helipad sits on eight acres between Soldiers Field Road and Harvard’s athletic fields. That’s where National and Mount Vernon are planning to build a three-building campus of office or lab space, likely part of a burgeoning life science corridor in this part of Allston.
Details of that project aren’t yet available; the developers plan to seek city permits early next year. National’s managing partner, Ted Tye, said they hope to have approvals for the second phase in hand by mid-2021, which would enable them to start construction on the TV studio next fall. The station will take about two years to build.