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Here’s what you need to know about Boston-area development this week

Critical Mass. tackles new housing in Eastie, Cambridge, and downtown Boston among other big projects

Rendering via Boston Globe/Stantec

Welcome to Critical Mass., a weekly roundup of the most notable development news in the Boston area. This week, we delve into several housing developments, Boston’s tallest new office tower in a generation, and a women-focused coworking space. Come along.


If there was a time since the 1970s when the Boston area needed more housing, that time is now. The area’s population is booming and it boasts one of the most vibrant job markets in the nation. Yet here comes only the second newly constructed rental building in Brookline in a decade. Maybe it’s the zoning.

Meanwhile, new housing developments are advancing in Cambridge’s Central Square, East Boston’s Maverick Square (Eastie, always with the construction), and next to Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. That final project—a redevelopment of the Dock Square garage—is yet another example of a meta-trend in Boston: the death of the conventional parking garage (below is a chunk of the Government Center Garage coming down).

Demolition work on an old, brutalist-style garage in downtown Boston. HYM Investment Group

Also in Boston and also kind of transportation-related: The boutique citizenM hotel above North Station set a date for its opening this week. The 272-room inn, which bills itself as providing “affordable luxury for the people,” will welcome guests starting August 5.

Speaking of milestones, One Congress officially broke ground. Part of the Bulfinch Crossing mega-development, the building—528 feet to its highest occupy-able point and 600 feet to its highest physical one—will be the tallest new office tower in Boston since 1984, when Karate Kid and Police Academy were box-office smashes.

Another milestone this week: Women-focused coworking concern the Wing opened its first Boston-area location in two built-out floors in Back Bay. And a big milestone for next week: The Encore Boston Harbor casino-resort in Everett will open Sunday at 10 a.m.

Will Suffolk Downs ever have its own groundbreaking and grand opening? The redevelopment of the old track on the Eastie-Revere line continues to elicit strong opinions.

Finally, if you’ve ever wondered why some Boston buildings sit vacant even as developer after developer capitalizes on the aforementioned need for housing, look no further than here.