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City picks developers seeking $95m in projects for Roxbury; hotel, grocery, housing eyed

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  May 17, 2012 09:03 AM

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(Boston Redevelopment Authority)

A rendering of the 10-story hotel proposed for Parcel 9 that would include ground-floor commercial, restaurant and community space and 52 housing units.

The city has tentatively designated developers for 3.5 acres of vacant, publicly owned land in Roxbury that are proposing a hotel, supermarket, housing and office and retail space on two tracts.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority, which on Wednesday approved the two tentative development designations, and the state Transportation Department each own portions of the land -- known as Parcel 9 and Parcel 10. The tracts are separated by Melnea Cass Boulevard and abut Washington Street and Shawmut Ave on either side.

For the 1.3-acre Parcel 9, Urbanica Design + Development proposes a $63-million, three-building complex that would include a two-story community building with retail, community space and a gym, along with a five-story, 52-unit rental housing facility with first-floor commercial space, according to city officials.

A 10-story, 150-room hotel, 87,200-square-foot hotel would include ground floor commercial space and a function room available for community events, the city said. The proposal calls for 139 parking spots and would hire between 800 and 1,000 construction workers.

For the 2.1-acre Parcel 10, Madison Tropical, LLC – a joint venture between Madison Park Community Development Corporation and Tropical Foods International – proposes a $32-million three building development, according to the city.

The site would include a 40,000-square-foot grocery store for Tropical Foods in a two-story building and a five-story building with retail, office, residential and parking space, officials said. A third building, the current home of Tropical Foods, would be rehabilitated for retail, housing and parking uses.

Altogether the plan calls for 25,600 square feet of ground-floor retail, 11,160 square feet of office space, 66 residential units and 173 parking spaces, the city said. The project would hire 580 construction workers and 121 permanent workers.

The current proposals may change, at least slightly, before clearing the subsequent review by the public, officials have said.

(See details of the Parcel 9 proposal, here. See details of the Parcel 10 proposal, here.)

The two parcels are near the neighborhood’s border with the South End and surrounded by several other significant development projects in and around the Dudley Square area that have been recently completed, are under construction or are going through the city's public review process.

Both parcels are part of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan, 10- to 20-year framework for the area, adopted in Jan. 2004, following a three-year public process.

Last summer, two other developers responded to the city’s request for ideas by submitting proposals for Parcels 9 and 10.

A team that calls themselves Washington Crossing Partners, LLC, was the only one of the four developers that submitted proposals to build on both parcels.

There idea, dubbed “Washington Crossing,” called for a $125-million, 365,000 square-foot mixed-use development that would comprise roughly 250 parking spaces to accompany commercial and retail space along with 144 workforce housing units, 14 of which would be townhouses.

Development team Parcel 9 Partners, LLC – a joint venture between New Atlantic Development and Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation – proposed a $28.5-million project called “Shawmut Green,” which focused solely on Parcel 9.

That idea called for a mix of 78 workforce rental and ownership housing units; 11,000 square feet of destination and locally-owned retail; a 2,000 square-foot entrepreneurship training center and both permanent and rotating public art installations.

Parcels 9 and 10 are about a quarter mile from Dudley Square, where city officials broke ground in March on a $115-million plan to redevelop the long-abandoned Ferdinand department store and two adjacent buildings.

Steps from the Ferdinand project, a local developer has proposed constructing new retail and office space in a three-story building on a vacant lot.

A seven-story complex with 57 housing units for low-income seniors and a new district police station were recently unveiled in Dudley Square. City officials hope to renovate the public library branch in Dudley Square, which has seen other real-estate related activity, including the potential for a Walmart, an idea city leaders have opposed.

Along a nearby stretch of Tremont Street across from the city’s police headquarters, a new health center facility recently opened on a long-vacant plot of land that was sub-divided out from the city-owned Parcel 3.

On the rest of Parcel 3, developers announced last month that they are moving forward with long-awaited plans to build a complex called Tremont Crossing that will include stores, offices, homes, and a museum featuring African-American artists. Officials hope to start construction there by fall 2013.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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