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Developer proposes massive lab and housing complex where Simmons dorms now stand

Project would create “vibrant nucleus” for life science companies in Longwood Medical Area.

Conceptual rendering of the proposed Longwood Place on Brookline Avenue and Pilgrim Road in Boston.SCD Pilgrim Road Master Planner LLC/ Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc

The low-slung dorms of Simmons University’s residential campus in the Longwood Medical Area will likely soon give way to a proposed major mixed-use development of office and laboratory space, residential units, retail space, and more.

Developer Skanska USA submitted detailed plans to the city this week for a 1.75 million-square-foot project spanning four buildings, with 2.3 acres of open space, to be built on the 5.8-acre location of several older Simmons dorms and sports facilities along Brookline Avenue and Pilgrim Road. The university had selected Skanska to redevelop the site back in November.

The project intends to “contrast this decades’ old insular campus with a new approach to welcoming and inclusive public realm, a vibrant new workplace hub for the life sciences industry, additional housing, and much-needed community spaces for the neighborhood,” Skanska wrote in its Jan. 3 filing to the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

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The cluster of brick dorms currently located on the site would be replaced by 1.56 million square feet of office and laboratory space, 200 residential units, 47,000 square feet of retail space, 12,000 square feet of civic/cultural/community space and 1,039 underground parking spaces. Skanska has tapped architecture firm Sasaki to design the project.

The new buildings, which range from 160 to 300 feet tall, would be built over the next three to 15 years, the filing stated, with sizes varying from 185,000 to 622,000 square feet. If approved, initial phases of construction would begin once Simmons’ new Living and Learning Center is completed. That project, which includes a 21-story dorm on Simmons academic campus south of Brookline Avenue, will allow for relocation of the existing campus spaces currently on the development site.

Conceptual rendering of the proposed Longwood Place on Brookline Avenue and Pilgrim Road in Boston.SCD Pilgrim Road Master Planner LLC/ Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc

Skanska also included proposals to improve transportation in the surrounding area, including new bike lanes and a bus shelter on Brookline Avenue, as well as updated pedestrian ramps and sidewalks. The project will also include city-required affordable housing and funding for programming by local community groups.

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“Overall, the Proposed Project’s development aims to create a vibrant nucleus of innovative workspaces, active community amenities, and additional housing and public realm in the LMA,” the filing said. The proposed structures “seek to meet and complement other buildings in the heart of the LMA to provide a project that fits within the existing urban fabric while also promoting a more robust heart for all to occupy and enjoy.”

While it reviews Skanska’s proposal, the BPDA will take public comments until Feb. 18.


Annie Probert can be reached at annie.probert@globe.com.