August 1, 2022
Seven buildings filled with labs, offices, commercial and retail space alongside housing and below-grade parking would be sited on Morrissey Blvd. properties between the former Boston Globe headquarters and the JFK/UMass Boston MBTA Station under the latest plan offered by Center Court Mass LLC.
On Monday, the developers submitted a new master plan to city officials for the stretch of properties known as 35-75 Morrissey Boulevard. Height-wise, the buildings would start at 9 stories, and rise to a single 22-story building close to the T station, according to the filing with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).
The three-phase plan would create a mixed-use development of up to 1.56 million square feet in an area that is seeing a flurry of activity. Plans are already well underway for a separate project on nearby Columbia Point, also featuring a mix of lab, commercial, and residential space, at the former Bayside Expo Center site through the creation of “Dorchester Bay City,” a $5 billion effort.
The former Boston Globe headquarters has been redeveloped into commercial space, and its owners are now seeking to build an additional life science building in a corner of that property.
In a sign of how hot the Columbia Point market is, the Archdiocese of Boston on July 17 informed parishioners that it hopes to sell the 3.3-acre St. Christopher property and has retained Newmark Capital Markets to list the land.
The 75 Morrissey site, where Channel 56 once had its one-story television studio, the remains of which still sit on the parcel, was sold to Center Court Partners in 2017 for $14.5 million. Center Court also owns the land comprising the one-story Star Market and the two-story Beasley Media Group building.
Plans for all these properties have gone through multiple iterations as the market has shifted. Since the pandemic began, demand for life science space has skyrocketed, though continuing economic uncertainty could soften that.
Citing public input, Center Court now sees four of the seven new buildings being set aside for office and life science space, and the other three for multi-family housing and below-grade parking. The breakdown: 921,470 square feet of office and research and development space; and 585 residential units totaling 559,405 square feet.
The ground floors would bring restaurants, retail outlets, public spaces, pedestrian and bicycle pathways. The new plan pitches four new public parks, totaling 1.27 acres, on the project site. Retail would span 67,135 square feet.
The Star Market would be relocated to one of the new buildings and remain open during construction.
The developers pledge to contribute to the efforts to rebuild Morrissey Boulevard and Kosciuszko Circle, and improve JFK/UMass MBTA Station.
Timelines are unclear as civic groups will be weighing in during a formal process that will involve the BPDA, an agency that has seen an exodus of staffers as Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration seeks to remake, if not outright abolish, the department itself.