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Housing and hotel plan above Mass. Pike goes forward

Miami-based Peebles Corp. was chosen to develop the site, known as Parcel 13, earlier this year.MassDOT

Plans for housing and a hotel above the Massachusetts Turnpike and Green Line in the Back Bay took a key step forward this week.

State transportation officials approved a deal with Miami-based developer Peebles Corp., giving Peebles rights to develop a site at the corner of Massachusetts Ave. and Boylston Street in exchange for $30.5 million in rent to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the MBTA.

That money will help finance a new Green Line station to replace the Hynes Convention Center stop, estimated to cost $45.7 million.

Peebles was chosen to develop the site — known as Parcel 13 — earlier this year. It plans to put 173 apartments and condos, a 160-room hotel, retail space, and two public plazas in an 11-story building dubbed The Viola, a nod to neighboring Berklee College of Music.


It’s one of several air rights projects on the books right now for MassDOT. Weiner Ventures is working on a plan for two neighboring sites at Mass. Ave. and Boylston — Parcels 12 and 15 — and developer John Rosenthal is partnering with Gerding Edlen to find financing for the massive Fenway Center proposal over the Turnpike near Fenway Park.

So far, Peebles’ project has moved relatively quickly, from initial selection to a contract in 10 months. Now the developer will seek permitting, design approvals, and financing, with an aim to start construction in 2019. It’s the first Boston project for Peebles, which has done large developments in Miami and Washington.

One goal of the project is to overhaul the Hynes T stop, which MBTA officials say is the busiest on the Green Line that is not accessible to people with disabilities. Peebles is partnering with HDR, which designed the new Government Center stop, to design the station.

The state Department of Transportation will be responsible for any costs beyond Peebles’ $30.5 million payment, and the contract allows the development to go forward even if state officials decide not to proceed with station improvements.


Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bytimlogan.