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Wentworth plans labs on sports field across from MFA

Long-stalled project getting back underway.

Wentworth Institute of Technology is partnering with developers to build a large life science building on Huntington Ave.Pat Greenhouse

The Wentworth Institute of Technology is pushing ahead with plans to build a 640,000-square-foot life-science project at Sweeney Field, located across Huntington Avenue from the Museum of Fine Arts.

The property is located just outside Mission Hill and the Longwood Medical Area, the densely-concentrated neighborhood of academic medical institutions and other scientific research facilities. At more than 3 acres in size, 500 Huntington Ave. “is one of the largest remaining undeveloped parcels in the Longwood Medical Area,” said developer Joe Fallon, chairman of The Fallon Co., in a statement. Wentworth tapped The Fallon Co., which built Fan Pier in the Seaport, to develop the lab in partnership with Owens Cos. and Waldwin Development Co., a joint venture dubbed the Huntington Development Group.

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Wentworth first proposed a 640,000-square-foot development at 500 Huntington nearly nine years ago. The project was envisioned as one 18-story office and research and development building with a six-story “lower component,” 410 underground parking spaces, and a six-story building to house the Wentworth Center for Innovation in Engineering and Technology. The then-Boston Redevelopment Authority approved the proposal in late 2013, with development costs estimated at the time at $390 million, but Wentworth never pursued construction.

It’s unclear whether — or to what extent — the development team would redesign the project from its original 2013 vision, though they do intend to file plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency, which would kick off a new round of public review. Fallon’s statement said the facility would allow Wentworth “to expand course offerings and increase its investment in students, research, facilities and staff,” and include both public open space and restaurant and retail uses. It was not clear whether Wentworth will own and operate the finished building or how much of it would be devoted to commercial compared with academic uses — which would impact the building’s property tax bill.

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“This project will play a key role in securing the university’s future as a cutting-edge, hands-on center for educational opportunity,” said Wentworth President Mark A. Thompson in a statement. “It is important to work with a team with deep ties to and intimate knowledge of the local real estate landscape and a track record of delivering transformational projects.”

The school expects more than 100 students to be employed in cooperative learning, or co-op, opportunities while the facility is being planned and built.


Catherine Carlock can be reached at catherine.carlock@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @bycathcarlock.