A team led by developer Related Beal has won the rights to build a seven-story lab building in the Seaport by offering a bid valued at nearly $131 million to edge out two rivals for the two-acre, city-owned site.
The Boston Planning & Development Agency board on Thursday granted the group development rights for 20 and 22 Drydock Ave. at the far eastern edge of the Seaport. The agency’s staff noted that the winning bid exceeded the next highest offer by $21.5 million, as measured by the estimated current value of what the city will receive over the course of the 70-year ground lease. The parcels are currently home to two older brick buildings, primarily used for city offices, that will be demolished.
This $400 million proposal is one of the first projects to take advantage of changes in height limits for the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. The BPDA controls the industrial park and has been trying to usher in biotech projects to fill empty parcels or to replace low-slung, aging structures.
BPDA officials said Related’s 319,000-square-foot building will feature a net-zero design with regard to carbon emissions, making it a possible environmental model for other lab projects where developers try to limit their impact on greenhouse gases. Related has also contracted with the nonprofit Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute to provide job training and programming for middle and high school students at the site, and has agreed to $3 million in other community benefits. Related Beal has become a prominent life sciences developer and landlord as the sector expands beyond its traditional Kendall Square base and into the Seaport; the company, for example, owns a lab building across the street from this project at 27 Drydock Ave. Related’s bid beat out teams led by Cronin Development and Marcus Partners.
As is now expected for all surplus land auctioned off by the BPDA, diversity is an important component of the Related proposal. (The BPDA typically counts the diversity of a bidding team toward 25 percent of its scoring when weighing bids for city-owned land.) A real estate fund overseen by prominent Black developer Richard Taylor will enable people of color to take equity stakes in the Drydock project. Meanwhile, diverse contractors DREAM Collaborative, Janey Construction, and Done Right Building Services will handle design, construction management, and facilities management, respectively.
This wasn’t the only city-owned site that the BPDA board is advancing for redevelopment this week.
The board Thursday also designated the Asian Community Development Corp. as the developer of a parking lot in Chinatown between Tyler and Hudson Streets, behind Tufts Medical Center. The Asian CDC plans to build a 12-story tower with 110 affordable apartments and condos, and put a long-anticipated new home for the Chinatown branch of the Boston Public Library on the ground floor. The BPDA is providing the land at a nominal cost.
A portion of the estimated $79 million in project costs will be covered by affordable housing funds from Millennium Partners’ Winthrop Center tower going up several blocks away. Millennium, Asian CDC, and Tufts Medical Center had been working together on another Chinatown project that would have been one of Boston’s largest new affordable housing developments, but those plans fell through in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic.