A developer filed a new Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Boston Planning & Development Agency on Thursday, April 7, for the development of air-rights Parcel 13 at the critical intersection of Boylston Street and Massachusetts Avenue, which now includes plans for the first 100-percent affordable housing project proposed for the Back Bay.
The revised mixed-use project now includes 125 new affordable residential rental units in place of the previously proposed luxury condominiums, according to a press release from the Peebles Corporation, the largest African American-owned real estate development company in the nation, and it “will support Mayor [Michelle] Wu’s initiative to build more affordable and workforce housing in all of Boston’s neighborhoods.”
An earlier proposed hotel component has been replaced with 300,000 gross square feet of lab, office, and commercial space, and there is no parking on site, given its proximity to the Hynes MBTA station.
A new state-of-the-art, universally accessible Hynes T station, with a new entrance off Boylston Avenue, will be integrated into the project’s ground floor, according to The Peebles Corporation, while “the project will provide critical funding and coordination for the renovation of Hynes Station including full accessibility for persons with disabilities, new publicly accessible station headhouses on Massachusetts Avenue, Boylston, and Newbury streets, and the opportunity for critical infrastructure upgrades to the station power systems. “
The project also includes plans for a public bicycle parking area for approximately 100 commuters and other pedestrian level improvements.
The Peebles Corporation, along with the developers of other air rights parcel projects in the area, have also pledged to helping pay for the proposed Prudential Tunnel extension.
Moreover, The Peebles Company will exceed both Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and BPDA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals for public parcels by “committing to a goal of 51 percent participation by minorities and women,” according to the developer, and is partnering with Cheryl McKissack Daniel, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, the oldest 100-percent minority/women owned design and construction firm in the United States.
The P13 project team will also include Moody Nolan, the country’s largest African American owned architectural firm, and “they will engage local M/WBE companies for the long-term management of the development, and all retail opportunities at the site will be offered to M/WBE restaurants and shops,” according to The Peebles Corporation.
Don Peebles, chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation, said in a press release announcing this news: “This project provides a unique ability to create transit-oriented, affordable housing units in the vibrant neighborhood of the Back Bay. We applaud the DEI guidelines put forth by both MassDOT and the BPDA and will continuously strive to ensure our team maximizes the opportunities for minority and women in our project. We believe the real estate development industry must play a major role in helping to close the wealth and income gaps that Black Americans confront in Boston. The industry must also lead the way to a long-term sustainable solution for providing affordable housing to the residents of Boston. We are thrilled to share our updated plans for Parcel 13 in the Back Bay and look forward to the continued opportunity to work with the community, the city and the state on this landmark development.”