Lab space and affordable housing set to move forward at long stalled Roxbury site

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HYM and My City at Peace have proposed five new buildings with a total of 466 housing units and 700,000 square feet of life science lab space, as well as a new headquarters for science nonprofit Lab Central Ignite of Life and a Museum, Gallery and Policy Center for King Boston, a Boston Foundation program honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. In total, the cost of the 1.2 million square foot project could exceed $1.5 billion.

“The community has been waiting for something beneficial to happen on this parcel for 40 or 50 years,” said Tom O’Brien, HYM’s managing director. “We now feel responsible to be able to work and deliver this for the community.”

Investment group HYM and My City at Peace’s proposal to develop Parcel P3 in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood includes a proposed home for King Boston, a museum and political center that would honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.Collaborative DREAM

On Monday, a 15-person Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee said it would recommend HYM and My City at Peace’s proposal to the Boston Planning and Development Agency. The project now needs a formal green light from the BPDA before starting development review.

The second team that initially offered to develop P3 – Tishman Speyer and Ruggles Progressive Partners – had also offered a mix of housing and life science lab space. The team on Friday asked the city to withdraw its bid from consideration, citing changes in the economy that made their proposal harder to fund.

“As you know, we have seen a broad deterioration in market fundamentals since we submitted our RFP response in March,” Tishman Speyer’s Michelle Adams wrote in an email to the BPDA obtained by the Boston Globe. “While our intention was to provide a practical, flexible and phased approach to development, these current economic headwinds have rendered the project we originally envisioned unfeasible at this time.”

The two proposals had been discussed for months, and last week a group of community members and business owners backed by elected officials said they would support the HYM/My City at Peace proposal.

At Monday evening’s public meeting, Louis Elisa, a member of the project’s review board, said he was troubled that more bidders had failed to show up.

“What do we say to a site of this nature for which we only have one developer? ” he said.

A proposed front door view of a five-building residential and life sciences campus at Parcel P3 in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, courtesy of The HYM Investment Group and My City at Peace.Collaborative DREAM

Key to the economics of the HYM and My City at Peace proposal is the mix of lucrative lab space and affordable housing.

The developers aim to use profits from a planned 700,000 square foot life science lab space to help fund affordable housing on the site, with their proposal calling for 308 affordable units (144 for sale and 164 for sale). rent), as well as 40 condos at market price and 118 apartments at market price. Affordable housing developer Madison Park Development Corp. is a project partner.

The multi-phase project would begin with a 379,000 square foot life science lab, aiming to begin construction in the spring of 2024, the developers said. They would then seek public funding for an affordable, market-priced 282-unit apartment building, followed by a second life sciences lab, then a second round of public funding before beginning construction of the 184 condos.

“Our entire approach to the project has been designed to create as many of the most affordable units as possible,” the development team wrote in its bid, adding that the “land value generated by life science buildings ” “would create a cross-subsidy that will complement public funding sources.

But the biotech lab market, long cherished by Greater Boston’s commercial real estate industry, has seen some downturn in demand lately, and this part of Roxbury has seen little life science development. .

O’Brien acknowledged some of the uncertainty, but also extolled the strengths of the P3 site. It is located less than a mile from the pharma-heavy Longwood medical area and a stone’s throw from the MBTA Ruggles Orange Line station, and biotech companies have demonstrated a growing desire to locate outside the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, he said.

“The characteristics of this site are just as good as any other existing life sciences site in Eastern Massachusetts,” said O’Brien, whose company is also the lead developer of massive projects in the Government. Center Garage and Suffolk Downs.

Full construction of a five-building campus at Parcel P3 is expected to last until spring 2029.

Jon Chesto of Globe staff contributed to this report.


Catherine Carlock can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @bycathcarlock.

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