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Another piece of Boston’s old industrial waterfront is poised to become . . . lab space

City gets three proposals for sizable lab project along Drydock Avenue and will select a developer this winter.

Boston has received three bids for its nondescript office building at 22 Drydock Ave. in the city's marine industrial park.
Boston has received three bids for its nondescript office building at 22 Drydock Ave. in the city's marine industrial park.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The future of Boston’s marine industrial park will consist of bigger, broader buildings — a shift already evident in the bidding for prime city-owned land at the end of Northern Avenue in the business park.

The three contenders all want to put up lab buildings that are seven or eight stories high under new zoning for the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park spelled out in a master plan that awaits approval by state environmental regulators. This would be the second project proposed with the new zoning in mind, and it’s much larger than the first. The new zoning would essentially double the size of buildings allowed on any particular parcel.

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The Boston Planning & Development Agency decided to seek developers for the nearly 2 acres between Northern and Drydock avenues to capitalize on the city’s booming life sciences market, said Devin Quirk, the agency’s director of real estate. (There are two buildings on that land now, including one the agency occupies.) Most of the business park is set aside for industrial uses, such as lab space.

Bidders were required to submit two proposals for a 70-year ground lease of the site, at 20 and 22 Drydock Ave., including one that would add up to 300 below-grade parking spaces for public use to augment the 1,700 spaces at the agency’s parking garage next door. Quirk declined to disclose the financial terms of the offers because the bidding is still ongoing, but the agency set a minimum requirement of roughly $3.6 million per year in annual rent to start.

Quirk noted that all three teams will have people of color as equity investors, reflecting the BPDA’s relatively new scoring criteria for land dispositions that counts diversity and inclusion toward 25 percent of the scoring.

Quirk said the BPDA expects to approve a winner sometime this winter, with construction likely starting in 2023. By that time, Quirk said, the new master plan for the park should be fully approved.

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Here are the proposals:

Cronin Development, Street2Ivy: Cronin would build a 320,000-square-foot complex with a training facility for Boston Ship Repair, a business incubator, and a child-care center on the first two floors. Floors three to seven would each include labs and offices, while the partial eighth floor also would include outdoor terraces. If Cronin wins, the developer would expand its shuttle to connect the park with Nubian Square in Roxbury; the shuttle was originally promised as part of Cronin’s winning bid for the rights to build a five-story structure at 24 Drydock Ave., the first under the park’s new density parameters.

This Drydock Avenue project proposed by Cronin Development would include a training facility for Boston Ship Repair, an adjacent business controlled by Cronin.
This Drydock Avenue project proposed by Cronin Development would include a training facility for Boston Ship Repair, an adjacent business controlled by Cronin.Boston Planning & Development Agency

Related Beal, Kavanagh Advisory Group, Boston Real Estate Inclusion Fund: Related wants to build a 320,000-square-foot structure, with a cafe and fitness center on the ground floor, and life sciences space on floors three to seven. The roof would feature conference and event space, and the building would be designed as a “carbon neutral” project. The Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute would be located on the ground floor, and the development would fund a study for a fire station in the marine park, and several other community benefits.

A project proposed by a team led by Related Beal would dedicate ground-floor space to the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute.
A project proposed by a team led by Related Beal would dedicate ground-floor space to the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute.Boston Planning & Development Agency

Marcus Partners, RISE Together, Domos, D.W. Sohier, Cadre: The team led by Marcus would develop a 319,000-square-foot, seven-story lab building, with a seafood wholesaler, cafe, and community classroom on the first floor, and a 16,500-square-foot public park. This building would be “carbon neutral” as well. It would set aside $5 million to signalize the Northern Avenue rotary and a solar-powered shuttle. Marcus also just won BPDA approval on Thursday to develop a 219,000-square-foot lab building around the corner, to be anchored by Ginkgo Bioworks.

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A development proposed by a team led by Marcus Partners would help pay for a traffic signal at the entrance to the marine industrial park.
A development proposed by a team led by Marcus Partners would help pay for a traffic signal at the entrance to the marine industrial park.Boston Planning & Development Agency



Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.