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Parcel 9 Finalists: 180-Room Hotel vs. Huge Urban Farm

Eschewing the beard-stroking of several opinion-makers (including The Globe's editorial page), the state has instead picked two non-museum finalists to develop downtown's so-called Parcel 9. Recall that a much-ballyhooed Boston Museum was among the original pitches after a late 2011 request for proposals by MassDOT, the owner of the parcel at Blackstone and Hanover streets. Instead, per Casey Ross at The Globe, the state has gone in two different directions (we think it's probably for the best):

· Normandy Real Estate Partners would build a 180-room hotel with a two-story winter garden. The seven-story complex would also include a food market with Haymarket pushcart vendors and other specialty food retailers.

· Blackstone Market's proposal would include 50 apartments in a seven-story building that would also house a food market and up to three restaurants. Intriguingly, it would also have what would instantly be one of New England's biggest urban farms: a 13,000-square-foot rooftop garden supplying the restaurants downstairs.

No museum, though the state says it's still committed to plunking a collection dedicated to Boston's history's somewhere along the Greenway (because there's so little about Boston's history in downtown). For now, it's Normandy vs. Blackstone, with a Nov. 16 decision deadline for MassDOT.

· Finalists Chosen for One of Last Prime Greenway Sites [Globe]
· Why the Boston Museum Might Be Wrong for Parcel 9 [Curbed Boston]

Parcel 9

Blackstone Street, Boston, MA