Long a game day and nightlife destination, the ancient blocks around Fenway Park could in a few years be filled with weekday office workers, under plans filed with the city Thursday.
A development group led by the Red Sox shared its most detailed vision yet for 2.1-million-square-foot project set on sites around Fenway. It envisions eight buildings in four spots along Jersey Street, Brookline Avenue, Van Ness Street, and behind the park’s left field “Green Monster” on Lansdowne Street. They would be filled with nearly 1.7 million square feet of office space, about 216 residential units, as well as restaurants and stores on refurbished streets.
It’s the latest large-scale development pitched for the booming Fenway neighborhood, this one centered around the park that remains its biggest draw. The developers note that the aim is not to make the home of the Red Sox a “sports theme park,” but rather to create new buildings designed for various uses around the stadium.
“Many ballparks around the country are surrounded by sports-focused developments, which is the opposite of what the Proponent envisions here,” the developers wrote at the start of a 1,000-plus-page filing with the Boston Planning & Development Agency. “The Project should feel like the neighborhood is enveloping the ballpark, and not that the ballpark is spreading its influence into the neighborhood.”
Regardless, the buildings would forever change the experience of going to game or event at Fenway.
In place of the low-slung souvenir shops along Jersey Street, there would be a 16-story, 230-foot-tall building with restaurants and stores ― including new versions of the current Red Sox team stores ― at street level. The vast parking lot at the corner of Brookline Avenue and David Ortiz Way would become a 300-foot-tall office building. Even Lansdowne Street would get a new seven-story building where a squat garage now sits, though renderings submitted to the BPDA indicate it will be designed to minimize the impact on those postcard views beyond the left-field wall.
The development group is a partnership between the Red Sox, ‘47 brand owners the D’Angelo family, and veteran Boston builders WS Development. (Red Sox principal owner John Henry also owns the Boston Globe.) Like their neighbors ― including Samuels and Associates, which has remade much of Boylston Street, and John Rosenthal and life science firm IQHQ, who are launching the main phase of the enormous Fenway Center project over the Massachusetts Turnpike — the developers are seeking to capitalize on the demand for office and life science space that’s spilling out from Longwood Medical Area.
Thursday’s filing will launch the start of formal community and BPDA review of the project. If approved, WS said it hopes to start work in 2022. The developer expects it could take five to seven years to complete all of the work.