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Three Big-Time Proposals for Boston's Unlucky Parcel 13

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Three development teams have responded to an early September request from MassDOT and the MBTA about how to develop the so-called Parcel 13 at Boylston Street and Mass. Ave. in Back Bay. As the Globe's Casey Ross notes, the site "has its problems. The land is hemmed in by an MBTA station and divided by the open scar of the Massachusetts Turnpike." Still, it's the opportunity to build big-time in Boston, where returns on residential real estate are running higher than the crop of towers currently sprouting in the city.

The winning team will get a shot at 54,500 square feet of air rights over the Mass. Pike and the Green Line tunnel across from the Hynes Convention Center, which means a rather large (by Boston standards at least) development. The team also will have the opportunity/obligation to upgrade the Hynes Station, which currently doesn't meet federal accessibility standards. Some 8,950 customers use the station on an average weekday, so that's can mean serious foot traffic for any ground-floor retail. On to what we know about the pitches:
· The Boston Development Group, Trinity Financial LLC and the Peebles Corp. would build an 11-story complex called Viola Back Bay, a nod to the nearby Berklee College of Music. The project (rendered above) would include 181 residences (condos and apartments), a 156-room hotel, 20,000 square feet of retail and 6,800 square feet of community space.
· Trinity Financial would construct a 21-story complex of 350 apartments, retail space and 100 parking spaces (the first proposal would include 138 parking spaces; both in this regard seem to be presupposed upon the idea of tenants or owners taking the train rather than driving, given that the number of spaces is far lower in both cases than the number of residential units).
· The third proposal, from the Boston Development Group, is unknown for now. Stay tuned.
MassDOT and the MBTA anticipate picking a development team by the end of the year, with construction due to start in 2017 and last two to three years. Though Boston could've used the apartments yesterday.
· Developers Pitch Plans for Back Bay Parcel Over Pike [Globe]
· Three Millennium Tower Penthouses Sell for Over $9M Each [Curbed Boston]
· Mapping Boston's Tallest New Residential Developments [Curbed Boston]
· Boston Housing Plan: Incentivize Developers, Cross Fingers [Curbed Boston]