City Holds Virtual Meeting On Proposed Fenway Corners Project

The Boston Planning & Development Agency held a virtual meeting on the proposed Fenway Corners project on Monday, June 12.

​WS-Fenway-Twins Realty Venture LLC – a partnership comprising the Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox; the D’Angelo family, who own the 47 sports apparel and memorabilia company; and Newton-based WS Development, which led the redevelopment effort in the Seaport – intend to redevelop 13 parcels located south of the Massachusetts Turnpike near Fenway Park on four major blocks along Jersey Street, Brookline Avenue, Van Ness Street, and Lansdowne Street, respectively, which collectively total around 5.32 acres.

​Yanni Tsipis, senior vice president of WS Development, said the project-use mix and program changes include the reduction of 50,000 square feet of commercial uses; the elimination of 8,000 square feet of retail to provide more public space; the addition of 50 more residential unit to bring the total to 266 units (including 53 affordable units) on site; an increase in affordable housing from 13 percent to 20 percent on site; a four-fold increase in civic space, bringing it to 10,000 square feet; a reduction in the project’s Gross Floor Area (GFA) of current project approvals by 460,000 square feet to align with the currently allowed Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 7.0; and the creation of the Fenway Family Center, a daycare/early childhood ed center that could accommodate 100 children.

The project would also allocate $13.5 million for area-wide transportation improvements ($6.50 per square foot); extend the Richard B. Ross Way from Van Ness Street to Brookline Avenue and create a Ross Way bike hub with valet service available on non-game days; and create .75 miles of new bike lanes and roadway improvements, said Tsipis.

The developer has also studied one- and two-way configurations for Van Ness Street, as well as multiple options for Brookline Avenue, with a focus on bike and pedestrian safety In both cases, the developer will pay for the preferred option per findings from the Fenway-Kenmore Transportation Action Plan, (FKTAP), said Tsipis.

Likewise, the developer has also committed to deferring around 460,000 square feet of development until after the completion of the FKTAP, said Tsipis, to take into account its findings.

As another project amenity, the developer has pledged to completely fund the restoration and renovation of the city-owned Duck House into a proper public facility, said Tsipis.

​The developer has also committed to advocating that the $23 in Housing Linkage funds from the project be used in the Fenway, and to work with the Fenway CDC (Community Development Corporation) and other stakeholders to achieve this goal, said Tsipis. Payment of these funds would be accelerated, rather than paid over seven years (which would amount to an additional $5.4 million in NPV [Net Present Value]), he added.

​Several meeting-goers urged the developer to give preferential treatment to Fenway residents when selecting the future residents of the project’s affordable housing units, which Tsipis said would ultimately be determined via a lottery.

​As another project amenity, the developer has also now committed to completely funding the restoration and renovation of the city-owned Duck House “into a proper public facility,” said Tsipis.

​Moreover, the project will “pedestrianize” Jersey Street, as well as create additional access points to the second level of the public space overlooking Jersey Street at the Jersey Street Porch, added Tsipis, The developer has also committed to leasing the food-and-beverage space at the Jersey Street Stoop to a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) operator at a below-market rate, he said.

​Marie Fukuda, a Fenway Civic Association board member and longtime neighborhood resident, said she is opposed to what she perceived as the “privatization” of Jersey Street and encouraged the development team to test the pedestrianization of the street as a pilot program before permanently implementing the change.

Tsipis said pedestrianizing Jersey Street wouldn’t change its legal status, and that it would remain a public street. “That’s one thing about the project that has not changed,” he added.

Instead, Tsipis said pedestrianizing Jersey Street would change it surface from blacktop to another material while opening the street up to an array of new pedestrian-friendly activities.

​“This is about beautification and pedestrianization,” he said.

Freddie Veikley, another longtime Fenway resident, requested that the developer undertake an independent transportation study to examine the potential impact of the closure of Jersey Street during business hours on days without events at the ballpark (i.e. Red Sox games and concerts) to determine how it would affect Richard B. Ross Way, as well as on business along Van Ness Street.

“There are huge consequences to diverting vehicles, and you usually don’t know until it’s too late,” she said.

Tsipis countered that as a partner in the project, the Red Sox organization is committed to ensuring that traffic doesn’t grind to a standstill outside the ballpark. He added that the two-way Richard  B. Ross Way would connect to the north and be able to accommodate traffic better than the Jersey Street has done.

Veikley also encouraged the developer to conduct a feasibility study of the Duck House to ensure that it’s structurally sound enough to be restored.

While Tsipis said he wasn’t sure which phase of the project would come first, he informed meeting-goers that each block (i.e. Jersey Street, Brookline Avenue, Van Ness Street, and Lansdowne Street) would have its own “mini-review” process with BPDA and Boston Civic Design Commission design reviews, as well as Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) review of their respective cooperation agreements.

The project is targeted to go to the BPDA board for a vote in July, said Michael Sinatra, senior project manager for the BPDA, and if it’s approved then, the matter would then likely go to the Zoning Board of Appeal in August for final approvals.

The public comment period for the project is open through June 23. Public comments can be left on the BPDA’s project page at, or submitted to Michael Sinatra directly via email at [email protected].

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