The streets around Fenway Park could be transformed over the next few years under development plans filed Friday by the owners of Red Sox and its partners.
Fenway Sports Group, the D’Angelo Family, and WS Development shared their clearest vision yet of plans to redevelop eight acres around the historic ballpark. A letter to the Boston Planning & Development Agency outlined a project that calls for 2.1 million square feet of offices, housing, and retail in four in buildings along Jersey and Landsdowne streets. Jersey Street would be permanently closed to vehicular traffic and become a “year-round public gathering space.”
Specifics — such as building heights and the precise mix of uses — will be fleshed out as the project moves closer to BPDA review. Yanni Tsipis, who is leading the project for WS, said the developers hope to work closely with neighborhood groups to shape a project that makes sense for everyone.
“This is the first small step on a journey to transform the public experience around the ballpark,” Tsipis said. “We look forward to working with our Fenway neighbors to create something beautiful that embraces its historic context and is welcoming to all.”
The project — years in the planning — makes the Red Sox and their neighbors, the D’Angelos, the latest major Fenway landowners to join the widespread transformation of the area. (Fenway Sports Group principal owner John Henry also owns The Boston Globe.) Samuels & Associates has built a corridor of apartment and office buildings along Boylston, while work is getting underway on the long-planned Fenway Center project above the Massachusetts Turnpike along Beacon Street.
The scale of what Fenway Sports Group and its partners have in mind appears closer to those projects than the low-slung buildings that surround the ballpark today, though both the letter and early design renderings suggest that the historic facades of existing buildings will remain in place.
“The Project’s guiding principle is to allow the city fabric to envelop and embrace the historic ballpark and create welcoming, people-first places and buildings that contribute to the quality and vitality of the public realm in the heart of the Fenway neighborhood year-round,” WS wrote in its letter to the BPDA.
They also plan to shut down Jersey Street — which today is closed on Red Sox game days but otherwise open to traffic — to create a permanent pedestrian plaza alongside Fenway Park. That would happen only after the extension of Ross Way — which today connects Boylston and Van Ness Streets — all the way through to Brookline Avenue A mix of storefronts and taller buildings would line Jersey Street, according to images filed with the letter.
The project also calls for buildings on a large surface parking lot across Brookline Avenue from Fenway Park, and on the site of a squat garage along Landsdowne Street behind the Green Monster. Longer term, the group is considering building a so-called “air rights” development over the Turnpike behind that garage — though those highly-complex projects typically take years of careful planning.