Business

Apartments, hotel proposed for South End

The proposed development is expected to draw pedestrian traffic, outdoor dining to a desolate area.
ADD Inc
The proposed development is expected to draw pedestrian traffic, outdoor dining to a desolate area.
normandy real estate partners

A New Jersey developer is proposing to build an apartment tower and hotel next to the former Boston Herald headquarters, one of several large-scale projects that would transform a scrubby section of the South End.

Normandy Real Estate Partners is finalizing plans for 220 apartments and 325 hotel rooms on the rectangular lot at 275 Albany St. The apartment tower could be as tall as 18 stories, adding a new level of height to the area that would also offer views of the downtown skyline and the Seaport District. The hotel, whose operator has not been named, would be 11 stories.

Normandy’s proposal, which includes retail stores at ground level, revises a prior plan to build 408 hotel rooms on the property. The land is situated in 10-block area between Washington and Albany streets that has attracted other redevelopment proposals. Normandy, which previously developed the Ames Hotel in Downtown Crossing and several other projects in the region, said its proposal will bring pedestrian traffic and even outdoor dining to desolate sections of Traveler, East Berkeley, and Albany streets.

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“The project will energize and enliven the area,” the company wrote in a project outline obtained by the Globe. “It will also serve as a buffer between the imposing hulk of the Southeast Expressway and the historic South End neighborhood.”

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The project still needs approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which recently revised building guidelines in the area to encourage high-density redevelopment with a mix of stores, residences, and offices. Normandy hopes to begin construction in the first half of 2013.

The project is adjacent to the former Herald property, where National Development is planning to build a mixed-use complex called the Ink Block. That project will include 475 apartments, a 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods grocery, and other shops and restaurants.

Several other building proposals are also beginning to take shape in the surrounding area. Nordblom Co. of Burlington is planning the construction of a residential and retail complex at a 2-acre site on Harrison Avenue previously occupied by Graybar Electronics. At the corner of East Berkeley and Washington streets, developer Ronald Druker is considering a project that could include residences, office space, and retail shops.

“The future is very, very bright in this part of the South End,” Druker said Wednesday. “The proximity to public transportation and now a supermarket makes it very attractive location.”

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The Normandy project would include the reconstruction of sidewalks around the circumference of the property, adding landscaping and additional room for cafe tables, benches, and other upgrades. The buildings would wrap around a 165-space parking garage.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.