A local developer intends to raze Midtown Hotel, which dates back to the ‘60s and currently provides lodging for around 300 Northeastern University students, and replace it with a 115-foot apartment building overlooking the Christian Science Plaza.
Ted Tye, one of the founding partners of Newtown-based National Development, outlined its plan to enter into a 99-year lease with the First Church of Christ, Scientist, to rent the site at 220 Huntington Ave., and to build on it a development comprising 325 rental units, 48 of which would be affordable, along with 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, 153 parking spots and 325 bike spaces, during a virtual meeting sponsored by the Boston Planning and Development Agency on Dec. 3.
Construction is expected to get underway “no sooner than 2022”, Tye said, and to take between 30 and 34 months to complete.
(The Northeastern students will vacate the Midtown at the hotel at the end of the spring ’21 semester and then Tye said the developer hopes to complete its construction plans later next year before it begins financing the project.)
While no variances are being sought for the right-of-way project, it does propose the demolition of a four-story, seven-unit building at 1 Cumberland St., which is also owned by First Church of Christ, Scientist, and would subsequently require that site’s exemption from the St. Botolph Area Architectural Conservation District.
“We’re strong advocates for not maintaining 1 Cumberland…[as it’s] not well placed in the historic context and sits in the footprint of the hotel,’ said Tye, who added that the developer has been in communication on the project as proposed for quite some time, but that the intended demolition had only recently gained the attention of preservationists.
(The proposed demolition of 1 Cumberland St. was scheduled for the Boston Landmarks Commission hearing on Dec.8, but the item was postponed at the chair’s request.)
David Nagahiro, a principal with Boston-based CBT Architects said the new building would be pushed back 30 feet from the current footprint to increase light and air in the alley on the project site’s southern side.
Guy Busa, a principal with the Boston transportation-consulting firm, Howard Stein Hudson, said as part of the project, the intersection at Huntington Avenue and Cumberland Street would also be opened up to improve safety conditions for both pedestrians and bicyclists.
Moreover, the project aims to widen the sidewalks in front of the building and add a new bike lane that would begin at Massachusetts Avenue, as well as to create a new Bluebikes station at Cumberland and Huntington.
“I hope it will be a tremendous improvement in neighborhood and make it a much more pleasant place to be,” Tye said of the proposed project. “In the end, I think it will improve the value of property [around the site] and, in my opinion, make the neighborhood a better place to be over time.”