Mixed-Use Project Planned for Parcel 12 Clears Another Hurdle

A developer’s plan to build a mixed-use project on air-rights Parcel 12 at the critical intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston and Newbury streets in Back Bay cleared another hurdle Monday when it received joint-approval from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors and the Fiscal and Management Control Board.

Boston-based developer Samuels & Associates intends to build a 237-foot, 20-story building at the location that would accommodate the headquarters for Cargurus, a Massachusetts-based automotive research and shopping website, as well a 154-foot building that would be home to a local outpost of citizenM, a Netherlands-based chain of affordable luxury hotels. The project also includes plans for  a public plaza; 70,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space; and a below-grade garage that could accommodate up to 150 vehicles.

Among the “public-realm improvements” planned as part of the project is a plan to renovate and reopen the currently shuttered MBTA pedestrian tunnel that links the Hynes Convention Center to the west side of Massachusetts Avenue.

More than half the project site would be located over the Massachusetts Turnpike, with the two buildings sitting atop an elevated podium.

Scott Bosworth, understudy and chief strategy officer with MassDOT, said although the start date for construction, which is estimated at $700 million, is now tentative given concerns over the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, the project would start with the reconfiguration of the highway before moving onto moving the Mass. Turnpike on-ramp.

“We’re staying committed to ready to hit the roadway as soon as you will allow it,” Bosworth said. While basic guidelines for the proposal, including terms for a 99-year lease for the site with MassDOT, were approved, Transportation Stephanie Pollack said a removal of Mass. Turnpike lane for the project would require further review by both boards.

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