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Developer sues rival to halt Seaport apartments

In an example of increasing tensions over the development of Boston’s Seaport District, a property owner is suing to block a rival from building an apartment complex next to his land off D Street.

The suit, filed by an entity managed by developer Terence W. Conroy Jr., challenges city approvals for construction of a two-building complex with 197 units by Cresset Development at 411 D St., across from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The $62 million project was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in April and includes two six-story apartment buildings, 121 enclosed parking spaces, and retail stores on the ground floor.


Conroy, president of Conroy Development Corp. of Stoughton, said the BRA and Boston Zoning Commission improperly allowed Cresset to exceed building restrictions for the property. Conroy’s land is used for parking, but he eventually wants to build a mixed-used complex there.

In a complaint filed in Massachusetts Land Court, Conroy contends the Cresset complex “will significantly reduce the view from [his] parcels, lead to a loss of natural light on the parcels, increase traffic in the immediate area, and increase density in what is fast becoming a densely populated neighborhood.”

Conroy, through an entity called 920 East First Street, has asked the court to invalidate the city approvals and grant an injunction preventing Cresset from obtaining a permit to start construction.

A lawyer for Conroy said in a statement that his client has also been trying to reach an amicable resolution with Cresset.

“We proposed many months ago to Cresset that we agree not to sue each other. They refused,” the attorney said. “Therefore we felt we had to preserve our own rights with this action.”

An executive with Cresset Development declined to comment.

The 411 D St. project would be Cresset’s second in the neighborhood; the firm previously developed the Liberty Wharf complex on nearby Northern Avenue that includes offices and four restaurants, including Legal Harborside, Jerry Remy’s, and Del Frisco’s steakhouse. It has also just put that property up for sale.


A spokeswoman for the BRA said the agency stands by its approval of 411 D St.

“We are confident that our zoning decision will be upheld in court,” BRA spokeswoman Susan Elsbree said. “This project will have a tremendous economic impact on our city, and we hope the lawsuit is expeditiously resolved.”

The 411 D St. complex is one of several apartment buildings slated to rise in the Seaport District over the next several years. More than 1,000 units are already under construction and hundreds more are being planned.

The legal dispute highlights tensions that are emerging from the neighborhood’s rapid redevelopment. With numerous new projects about to get underway, developers are competing intensely for the few properties that remain available.

In addition to interest from private companies, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority is also in the hunt for properties to accommodate a massive expansion plan that includes new hotels around its main hall on Summer Street.

For example, the authority is closing on the purchase of a different property next to 411 D St. where it intends to build parking and hundreds of hotel rooms.

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