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Fenway Center construction imminent as developers, state ink key deal

Engineering hurdle remains

Fenway Center rendering Rendering via Meredith Management

The state Department of Transportation’s board voted July 17 to execute a 99-year lease with developers John Rosenthal and Gerding Edlen that will allow the five-building Fenway Center project to get underway where Brookline and Commonwealth avenues meet in Boston’s Kenmore Square area.

The 4.5-acre development’s first phase—two residential buildings of seven and 13 stories, with 313 apartments and 67,000 square feet of commercial space—could start before the end of the summer.

As for the rest, that involves building over eight lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike, not the easiest feat and one big reason why Fenway Center has been years in the making. (No one’s built over the Pike since Copley Place opened in the 1980s.)

Nearly 20 years have passed since Rosenthal first sought to build at the location. The infrastructural alchemy inherent in the project as well as financing challenges have delayed the project interminably.

Last year, though, with financing in place, it became clear that 2017 would likely see the start of Fenway Center.

All totaled, Fenway Center is expected to have around 650 housing units, 160,000 square feet of offices, 50,000 square feet of retail, 1,290 parking spaces, community space, a daycare center, bicycle storage, and a bike-share station.