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A vacant lot with a fence in front of it and a rundown single-story building at the end of it.
The site of the former Harrison Supply Company in Roxbury, which the Benjamin Franklin Institute purchased.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

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Benjamin Franklin Institute’s Roxbury deal could mean big, new project in the South End

Plus another Quincy development off the Red Line, an Orange Line connection for Encore Boston Harbor, and downtown Boston’s first automated parking garage

Critical Mass. is a weekly roundup of the most notable development news in the Boston area. This go-round includes two parking lots slated for redevelopment, a major site sale in Roxbury, and more Quincy apartments near the Red Line.

In the Roxbury-South End borderlands, two developers are seeking permission to redevelop a 9,586-square-foot parking lot on Northampton Street between the Southwest Corridor Park and the Newcastle Court building. The development at 597-599 Columbus Avenue would run to five and a half stories and include 47 income-restricted units.

Now, to downtown, where an affiliate of Boylston Properties, the developer that bought the Onyx Hotel in in early June, has filed initial plans to expand that inn by more than 77 rooms as well as ground-level retail and restaurant space. The expansion would replace a 5,499-square-foot surface parking lot at 155 Portland Street.

It’s been known since January that the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology was selling its campus at Berkley and Appleton streets in the South End to fund an expansion elsewhere in Boston. That elsewhere will be a more than 55,000-square-foot site at 1011 Harrison Avenue in Roxbury’s Dudley Square. The school bought it for $6 million and plans to move by fall 2021. Now it’s a guessing game as to what happens to its South End site.

Some hotel news from the week: The first Cambria brand hotel in Massachusetts opened at 6 West Broadway in South Boston. Boston-based City Point Capital developed the 159-room Cambria Hotel Boston, Downtown-South Boston, which is near the Red Line’s Broadway stop and aims to sell both its convenience to downtown as well as its proximity to everything Southie.

Speaking of milestones, the Abby, a three-building complex on a 7.2-acre parking lot adjacent to the North Quincy Red Line stop, officially broke ground. The complex is due to include 610 apartments and 45,000 square feet of retail as well as a parking garage with some 1,314 spaces, including 852 for MBTA commuters. All of the buildings in the project—named for first lady Abigail Adams, late of Quincy—will be connected.

Finally, another milestone of sorts: When it’s finished in late 2021, the redeveloped One Post Office Square will feature what its developers are now calling the first automated parking garage in downtown Boston. Commuters will be able to leave their cars in one of the six-story, eight-level garage’s 371 spots and then retrieve it via their smartphones.

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