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Third developer submits bid for Back Bay site over Mass. Pike

Boston Residential Group has proposed a series of three building rising as high as 24 stories to be built over the Massachusetts Turnpike at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street.Cambridge Seven Associates

A Boston developer is proposing to build student housing, a hotel, and retail space as part of a sweeping redevelopment of a state-owned parcel at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street.

Boston Residential Group’s plan calls for three buildings that would rise to 24 stories along Boylston Street. The complex would be linked to a nearby MBTA station and include a public rooftop garden.

The company is one of three bidders seeking to redevelop a state-owned parcel that sits partially on air rights above the Turnpike. Also bidding are Trinity Financial, of Boston, and Peebles Corp., a Florida company.


Boston Residential’s proposal features an elegant design by Cambridge Seven Associates, with a series of glass and masonry buildings that would bring a pop of modern architecture and new activity to an empty section of Boylston Street.

“First and foremost, this is a transit-oriented development,” the company said in its proposal, submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Friday. “It is urban infill at its best and offers the opportunity to create a powerful new gateway to Boylston Street and Fenway, and to stitch back the urban fabric of the Back Bay and the Prudential Area.”

The project would include student housing with 460 beds in a 24-story building along Boylston Street. The building would be leased to one or more colleges, according to Boston Residential’s proposal. The project would also include a limited-service hotel with 140 rooms and about 77,000 square feet of retail space.

The Transportation Department will select a winning bidder in the coming months. The property, known as Parcel 13, is one of several air-rights sites offered for development in the Back Bay. Developers Adam Weiner and Steve Samuels are planning to transform nearby lots into a 32-story hotel, residences, and retail stores in coming years.


But do not expect construction to start right away. Air-rights parcels are particularly difficult to develop in Boston, facing many bureaucratic hurdles and significant financial challenges because of the added cost of building over a highway.

The other proposals:

■  Peebles proposed a curvy, $330 million complex with 181 residences, a 156-room hotel, and 20,000 square feet of retail space. Designed by Handel Architects of New York, it would rise to 11 stories and contain 138 parking spaces and 6,800 square feet of community space. It would be called Viola Back Bay, an homage to Berklee College of Music.

“We want the building to be very contextual, but you will know it’s a new building,” said chief executive R. Donahue “Don” Peebles. “The architecture of the building is significant, so a viewer will recognize and appreciate that.”

Peebles has developed large projects nationwide, including the Royal Palm Hotel in Miami Beach and 10 G Street, a 280,000-square-foot office building near Union Station in Washington, D.C.

■  Trinity Financial, of Boston, proposed a 21-story multi-tiered building. The $223 million development would include 350 apartments, retail space, and about 100 parking spaces.

Trinity has partnered with the Transportation Department on other major projects near transit stations. It developed the 241-unit Avenir housing complex at North Station and is building One Canal, a 350-unit residential project on adjacent property.

“We really feel like we’ve assembled the team that can pull this off,” said Kenan Bigby, a vice president at Trinity. “We see this as filling in a missing tooth in what is a very active and vibrant neighborhood.”


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