scorecardresearch Skip to main content

South End, Seaport projects win BPDA approval

A half-billion dollars’ worth of new development got a green light in the city development board’s final meeting of the year.

The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology campus at 41 Berkeley St. in the South End will be transformed into three residential buildings.Hacin + Associates

The Boston Planning and Development Agency board last week approved more than a half-billion dollars worth of real estate development projects, including a combined 485 residential units in Chinatown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, the Seaport, and South End.

Related Beal won approval of its proposed transformation of the Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology campus in the South End, as the institute plans to relocate to Roxbury’s Nubian Square. The school’s current campus at 41 Berkeley St. will eventually house three buildings, including a 190,000-square-foot, 236-bed senior care facility. The existing Franklin Union building will be renovated and expanded into 35 condos, and the existing building at 4 Appleton St. will be renovated and expanded into 16 apartments.


“It’s hard to imagine a project in Boston that has as much of an impact, positive impact, on the South End, on Nubian Square . . . it’s hard to think of an institution that has been able to combine public and private sector resources in the way that the Ben Franklin Cummings Institute is now doing with this project,” said BPDA board member Ted Landsmark. “It really speaks to what is we want to believe in about the culture of the city, who’s here, and who gets to do the work here.”

In the Seaport, WS Development won approval for proposed changes to the final phases of Seaport Square, the 23-acre, 20-block master-planned development. WS in May proposed cutting a planned building and expanding green space, swapping a planned residential building for a life sciences lab — but keeping previously planned affordable housing units — and swapping a hotel building for housing and office space. The approved changes will bring 600 residential units, 170 of them income-restricted, to the site.

The board praised WS’s commitment to transforming acres of what had been parking lots into a wholly new place.


A conceptual rendering of the future expanded Seaport Common park. WS Development

“I am glad, whether it was me or whether it was one of our other fellow board members, that we selected a developer that . . . took very seriously this immense responsibility for like, literally building a whole freaking neighborhood,” said BPDA board chair Priscilla Rojas at the meeting.

The board also approved replacing a 389-space parking garage at 17 Farnsworth St., next to the former General Electric Co. headquarters in Fort Point, into a four-story life sciences lab.

In Jamaica Plain, the board approved a proposal by development firm Pennrose to convert the long-vacant Blessed Sacrament church into 55 income-restricted housing units and a community room operated by the church building’s owner, the Hyde Square Task Force. The project will preserve the existing historic building and create a plaza that will host performances organized by the task force.

The Asian Community Development Corp. won approval to build a 12-story, 110-unit residential building on BPDA-owned land at 49-63 Hudson St. and 48-58 Tyler St. The 66 apartments and 44 condos will be income-restricted, and the project will include a Chinatown branch of the Boston Public Library.

The board also approved a 40-unit residential building at 1 Taber St. in Roxbury, and in Dorchester, The Michaels Organization won approval for its proposed six-story, 229-unit residential building at 800 Morrissey Blvd. — a project that will cost an estimated $115 million to develop.

Catherine Carlock can be reached at Follow her @bycathcarlock.