After many months of concerns expressed by Old South Church, Boston Properties has won the blessing of the Boston Planning and Development Agency for their plans to build a billion dollar project atop Back Bay Station at a recent meeting.
Thanks in part to an agreement to give $3 million to a preservation fund for Boston’s historic buildings such as Old South and Trinity Church as well as another $3 million applied to affordable housing.
Old South Church was in deep opposition for the development only until recently when this agreement had been made. They plan to keep trying for more homeownership funding from larger scale developments and feel that this is a great step in the right direction.
“We’re delighted and gratified,” said senior minister Nancy Taylor. “We went from zero to $6 million.”
Along with the housing and preservation funding, Boston Properties has agreed to major upgrades to the rail station, and plans to build 3 towers of housing and office spaces with new concourses that supporters say will better link the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods together.
“I’ve never seen a project that has this kind of potential to transform a neighborhood,” said Michael Cantalupa, senior vice president of development at Boston Properties.
Additional projects for the area had also moved forward at the same meeting. WS Development’s plan for 10 open blocks in the Seaport District easily passed through approval. Plans will include a much needed grocery store which is essential for the area.
Additionally, one of the largest plans for Brighton was also approved. This includes 551 apartments and 101 condos at the site of St. Gabriel’s Monastery on Washington Street.
Fenway Center also cleared a procedural milestone which will bring it closer to breaking ground. The first phase of this development is located on Beacon Street above the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Finally, the proposed 51-story tower over South Station to be potentially developed by Hines has been granted an additional 4 months to continue working with investors and state transportation officials for this project by the planning agency.