City Realty Proposes Transformative Lab Space Building in the Heart of Mass/Cass

The Bradston Street corner is one of the most infamous corners on the Mass/Cass corridor – one that most people drive by in shock as they observe the quality of life issues playing out in real time – but now City Realty is proposing to potentially change that corner from infamous to productive.

Through its attorneys at Dain-Torpy, City Realty filed a Letter of Intent for a hospital/research & development/lab space use building that would likely be a more than 400,000 sq. ft. mid-rise building on a 50,282 sq. ft. lot that includes the old pet store, a parking lot and the Bay Cove Services building. An entity once tried to put a medical marijuana facility on the site, and City Realty once proposed a large housing development there.

Now, they are back with something that the neighbors, and particularly the Newmarket Business Association (NBA), are applauding for the moment.

“Our forthcoming Project Notification Form (PNF) will propose a new-construction, contextually-designed, mid-rise building that will provide 21st Century facilities for many of Newmarket’s core industries, and which will mark the entry into this economically critical area,” read the letter signed by Attorney Donald Wiest. “The project building will be designed to support tenants in multiple growing sectors that will build on and expand Boston’s competitive advantages in the coming years:  healthcare support and administration; office and medical office; pharmaceutical back of house operations; Research & Development; and advanced manufacturing. The project will create employment opportunities for workers with a range of educational backgrounds. The project will also allocate significant ground floor space for supporting the neighborhood’s historic uses that have been deemed to be at risk, including job training workspaces for the creative economy.”

The LOI indicated the project seeks to set an example for the next generation of urban industrial and commercial design in the city. It also indicated it has been done in “lockstep” with the ongoing PLAN: Newmarket/The 21st Century Economy Initiative.

“The intention of this building is to be the first of many new buildings in the area to meet the objectives of the City’s planning study for the area,” read the letter.

The letter concluded by saying it is a project that embodies all people in all walks of life and is a vote of confidence for Newmarket, which has been horrifically burdened over the last few years by the opioid epidemic and many of the harm reduction services like the Comfort Station that have been located there.

“The project embodies economic development, placemaking and social stabilization,” read the letter. “Its commercial components will contribute robustly to this irreplaceable industrial area of Boston. Its innovative, multi-user design wrapped in elegant architecture will offer a model to the flexible workspaces of tomorrow. And the project represents an essential vote of confidence in Newmarket Square’s health and vitality.”

Sue Sullivan, director of NBA, said they are happy to see the building and the use, noting the developer has worked closely with them on solving quality of life issues there and building in local jobs.

“For us, we are very happy with them because developing that site is such a key piece to the overall development of Newmarket with what it will look like and how we will use planning and development to create a new quality of life environment in the area,” she said. “Obviously the area has its challenges and that corner has its challenges. We do believe a vibrant development 16 to 18 hours a day will go a long way to changing the dynamics there.”

Sullivan said it is perhaps also the beginnings of a long-held promise for when the BioLab came in across the Connector at Boston University. That was some years ago and the promise was that it would bring more and more complimentary uses to Newmarket, but little of that came to be until, potentially, now.

“When the BioLab was first built and coming online, there were many assertions made by those developers and the City that there would be many millions of dollars in future development that would come about because of companies that would want lab space close to that facility,” she said. “That hasn’t come to fruition though there are a few in the South End. We do believe a lot of these companies are watching closely to see when the first ones come online and that will open the door to a lot more. The only reason it hasn’t happened yet is the social issues down there. We have the perfect building stock for it.”

The building project will be subject to the BPDA Article 80 Large Project Review and that will be scheduled once the PNF is filed in the coming months.

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