Wowza! The oft-stalled Fenway Center, that five-building exclamation point over the Mass. Pike with more than 500 apartments, appears to be on (again). The state has reached a deal with the development team led by John Rosenthal for the 4.5-acre site, around Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street, and the air rights above it. Construction could start by early 2014.
The path to this point has been a long and winding one. First pitched in 2007, Fenway Center has been held up by legal challenges from an adjoining landowner (challenges that Rosenthal won) and from a dispute with MassDOT over a 99-year lease for the site. Then, this past March, a deal for a parking garage on Lansdowne Street, opposite Fenway Park, seemed to signal that the project was suddenly moving forward.
The state deal for the site and the air rights would seem to confirm that. Per Casey Ross in The Globe: "A Patrick administration official said the sides ironed out a 'fair deal' that will result in significant revenue for the state as well as 1,800 construction jobs. A major issue in the negotiations was the value of the air rights."
Everything, of course, could still stall—the state Transportation Department's board is expected to vote on the deal May 22—but it finally looks more likely than not that the first phase of Fenway Center is on and would look like this: 420 apartments as well as retail stores in three buildings, including two of seven and 14 stories on Beacon and a seven-story one on Brookline; and a 750-space parking garage for local commercial tenants as well as Red Sox fans. The second phase would include a 27-story building. Bring it.
· Deal Clears the Way for Fenway Center Project [Globe]
· Get Ready, Mr. Sun! Epic Fenway Center Leaps Legal Hurdle [Curbed Boston]
· So It Looks Like Fenway Center's Back On... [Curbed Boston]
· Fenway Center, Always With the Hold-Ups [Curbed Boston]