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Dudley library branch redo is the best Boston-area new development of 2017

Four runners-up

A major overhaul of the Dudley branch of the Boston Public Library in Roxbury is the best new development in the region, according to Curbed Boston readers.

Thanks to all who voted last week. Let’s flesh out the results a bit, shall we?


The winner (with 38 percent of the vote)

Renderings via Utile

Renovation work officially commenced in late October that is expected to transform the Boston Public Library’s 39-year-old Dudley branch in Roxbury from a kind of fortress-like concrete monolith into a more open, light-filled pavilion.

The $14.7 million, 27,000-square-foot project, which Boston-based Utile Architecture & Planning has designed, will feature glass walls and a new entrance overlooking a plaza.

The aim, according to Utile, is “to create a more welcoming, accessible, and contemporary library experience for the Dudley Square community.”

The branch is closed now until the spring of 2020 to accommodate the work.


Runners-up (in order of vote totals)

A group of tall buildings with a pedestrian plaza in the foreground. Rendering via Pelli Clarke Pelli/Boston Properties

↑ The Boston Planning and Development Agency in mid-November signed off on developer Boston Properties’ plans to build 1.26 million square feet of housing, offices, and retail over and around Back Bay Station.

The vote capped well over a year of wrangling over the project, in particular the shadows it would likely cast. One of its three new towers is expected to reach 364 feet.

The project is envisioned as a kind of transformative gateway connecting Back Bay and the South End; and includes improvements to the station itself.

An aerial view of a large park plaza with trees. There is a path adjacent to the plaza with people. There are building surrounding the park and path. Rendering via Elkus Manfredi

↑ The Cambridge City Council in late October approved M.I.T.’s petition to rezone the Volpe transportation hub that the university bought from the federal government for $750 million.

The Kendall Square location is considered one of the nation’s choicest development sites and M.I.T. is dreaming big there with plans that include about 1.7 million square feet of commercial space and as many as 1,400 housing units.

An aerial view of Exchange South End in Boston. There is a wide street flanked by various buildings. Rendering via the Abbey Group

↑ Developer the Abbey Group in late September filed formal plans to redevelop the 5.6-acre former site of the Boston Flower Exchange off Albany Street in the South End.

Abbey bought the site in 2016, and wants to start construction in fall 2018. It’s been dubbed Exchange South End and, among other aspects, would include nearly 1.6 million square feet and four new buildings.

In the foreground is a park with trees, grass, and a small body of water. The park is surrounded by various buildings. Rendering courtesy of DivcoWest

↑ Construction is underway on this 4.5 million-square-foot development within the 45-acre NorthPoint site where Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston converge.

San Francisco-based developer DivcoWest officially broke ground on a 430,000-square-foot science-and-tech hub there in late October.

When it’s all built out, what DivcoWest this fall dubbed Cambridge Crossing—or CX for short—will include 2.1 million square feet of tech and office space in five buildings and as many as 2,400 new condos and apartments.