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

Critical Mass. this week includes two life sciences projects, an unveiling in Fenway, and a new tower for Chinatown

Welcome to Critical Mass., a weekly roundup of the most notable development news in the Boston area. This week’s includes new life sciences projects, a reimagined landmark in Fenway, and a new tower for Chinatown.


Rendering via US2

The Somerville Planning Board has approved a a 175,000-sqauare-foot lab building at Somerville Avenue and Prospect Street. It’s a major part of the eventual 2.4 million-square-foot buildout of a 15.7-acre footprint in the Union Square area.

Speaking of life sciences-slash-lab buildings, Manhattan-based developer Tishman Speyer is co-launching a venture to build real estate for drugmakers. And the venture’s first project will be an eight-story life sciences building near the Red Line’s Broadway stop in South Boston. It’s supposed to open in 2021.

Another significant project advancing? The redevelopment of the Seaport World Trade Center, which is due to produce around 170,445 square feet of new and enhanced publicly accessible outdoor space as well as 45,000 square feet of retail. It also means the end of Commonwealth Hall.

And a residential tower at 252-258 Huntington Avenue in Fenway—part of a project that includes a refurbished Huntington Theatre Company building—is adding two more floors for up to 20 more apartments. Boston could certainly use them.

Rendering courtesy of Stantec

In Chinatown, a consortium that includes Millennium Partners, the folks behind Winthrop Center and Millennium Tower, formally proposed building a 30-story tower slated to include 171 income-restricted housing units, a DoubleTree Hotel, and perhaps a permanent Chinatown branch for the Boston Public Library. The project at 288-290 Tremont Street would fill a city-owned parking lot—and fulfill Millennium’s commitment to the city to build affordable housing as part of Winthrop Center.

And, in Fenway, prolific developer Samuels & Associates unveiled the finishing touches on the $650 million redevelopment of Landmark Center into 401 Park, which includes retail, offices, and a snazzy green space out front.

Finally, as if to accentuate the value of Boston land, an approximately one-mile railroad right-of-way parallel to nearby Route 1A in East Boston is drawing developer interest. Stay tuned.