CAC Ponders Star Market Redevelopment Project in the Fenway at Virtual Meeting

The proposed redevelopment of the Star Market site in the Fenway in connection with the filing of a Draft Project Impact Report was the topic at hand during a city-sponsored Citizens Advisory Committee meeting held virtually on Monday, Oct. 23.

​Boston-based commercial real-estate developer Samuels & Associates intends to develop the approximately 2.38 acre, L-shaped acre site at 1380-1420 Boylston St., which is currently occupied by a single-story Star grocery store, a decommissioned gas station, and surface parking lots, into to a mixed-use building comprising four interconnected sections.

​The approximately 553,000 gross square foot project will include approximately 498,000 square feet of office/research and development space; approximately 17,000 square feet of retail/restaurant/service and accessory uses and facilities on the ground floor; approximately 33,000 square feet of enclosed loading and back of house space; approximately 5,000 square foot civic building, which could serve as a Boston Public Library neighborhood branch; over half an acre of landscaped green space along the Emerald Necklace; and underground parking to support the building’s programming.

​Peter Sougarides, a Samuels & Associates principal, detailed the $55 million in community benefits from the project, including an $18 million contribution to support the creation of Boston-based Transom Real Estate’s 117-unit residential project (of which 48 percent would be affordable homeownership units) at 165 Park Drive in the Fenway.

​An additional $1.3 million has been earmarked to support additional affordable housing in partnership with the Fenway CDC (Community Development Corporation), said Sougarides, while an additional $6.8 million has been allocated for linkage for housing and jobs, as well as another $3 million for transportation and job improvements.

​The project’s promised community benefits also include a $12 million contribution to build a 5,000 square-foot, free-standing civic building on the project site, which would likely be programmed as a new Fenway neighborhood branch in response to the wishes of the community, added Sougarides.

​Quinn Valcich, a project manager for the Boston Planning & Development Agency who served as the meeting moderator, said the city would be sponsoring a virtual meeting on Monday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. to discuss the project and an associated proposed zoning amendment. The conversation will focus on the project’s civic and open space, including the proposed library branch. Visit to register for the meeting and for more information.

​Meanwhile, David Manfredi, CEO and founding principal of Boston’s Elkus Manfredi Architects, said the project would create 1,000 linear feet of public-realm frontage along the Emerald Necklace.

​The front of the proposed building would have tiered terraces for the use of tenants, which would step also down towards the Emerald Necklace while preserving views of Ramler Park, said Manfredi, and all loading and unloading of trucks would take place within the building itself.

​The sidewalks on the sides of the project facing Park Drive, Boylston Street, and Kilmarnock Street, respectively, would all be a minimum of 10 feet wide, said Keith LeBlanc, a project consultant, while the sidewalk would be narrower on the side facing Peterborough Street. A 6-foot bike track would also be installed along Park Drive and Boylston Street, he said.

Ian McKinnon, a transportation consultant with Boston-based Howard Stein Hudson, said curb-cuts had been reduced by 197 feet, including reducing the distance from 1400 Boylston St. to 401 Park Drive by 38 feet at the intersection of Boylston Street and Park Drive, which will be completely reconfigured, while four curb-cuts have been eliminated entirely.

Kathy McBride, a CAC member and Peterborough Street resident, said she had “so many good things to say [about the project] I don’t even know where to start,” but she also expressed concern about its potential impact on traffic in the Fenway, especially in light of other large development projects planned for the neighborhood.

Another CAC member, Tim Horn, applauded the new homeownership opportunities in the neighborhood that the project will create and said he is “also really excited to see a library come to the fore.”

Horn did express one concern, however, that the largely glass design of the civic building, which could become home to the library, would prove perilous to birds that unwittingly end up flying into it.

Likewise, Freddie Viekley, also of the CAC, also praised the proposed development as a “great project” and lauded the developer for setting it back enough to not impede with view corridors, especially at sunset.

Viekley implored the developer to find a way to help mitigate the expected wind impact t the corner of Boylston Street and Park Drive as people walk from the project site to the Fenway T stop.

“There has to be some way there to make the wind less powerful at that corner,” she said.

Sougarides responded that the project team would take a closer look at the project’s potential wind impact.

The public comment period on the DPIR for this project is open through Dec. 4; comments can be submitted via the BPDA’s project page at, or by emailing them to Quinn Valcich of the BPDA at [email protected].

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