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New England’s first LGBTQ-friendly senior housing complex gets Boston’s okay

Other big development news includes decisions on selling the Hynes Convention Center and on picking a developer for Harvard’s big Allston parcel

Rendering of a courtyard with walking paths and benches. Rendering via Mikyoung Kim Design/Dimella Shaffer

Welcome back to Critical Mass., in which Curbed Boston covers all the major development news in the region every week. There's a ton of stuff this go-round. Let’s start lifting.


Harvard narrowed to three the number of developers competing to redevelop 14 acres that the school owns in Allston—and all three are keen on including housing. The site is one of the plummiest parcels left in Boston proper. Harvard hopes to make a final decision before 2020.

Speaking of final decisions, Boston officials picked Philadelphia-based Penrose LLC to develop a former middle school at 15 Everett Street in Hyde Park into New England’s first LGBTQ-friendly senior housing complex, complete with a spacious courtyard (rendered at top).

Another big decision this week—actually, two big decisions. The board of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority voted to allow the sale of Back Bay’s Hynes Convention Center. The profit from that is expected to go toward funding a $500 million expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on 6 acres behind that South Boston property—which the board also approved.

And on and on ... What’s being called the largest permanent supportive housing development of its kind in Boston won Boston Planning & Development Agency approval this week. Pine Street Inn and the Community Builders Inc., a nonprofit developer, want to build a five-story, 202-unit mixed-use property at 3368 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain that would include offices for Pine Street as well as 140 studios for people who were formerly homeless.

... and on ... WS Development has the BPDA’s green light now to pivot from mostly residential to mostly office at its planned 350 Summer Street in the Seaport District’s Seaport Square project.

One more: Developer Boston Residential Group—the same folks behind 319 A Street in Fort Point and Olmsted Place in Jamaica Plain, among other projects—has decided to pursue at 12-story, 29-unit condo building at 55 India Street, just off the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It could open in 2021. The project also means the end of yet another Boston parking lot.

Okay, now for some arrested development. The Boston Zoning Board of Appeal nixed a proposal to redevelop a run-down single-family at 18 Plain Street in Dorchester into a five-unit condo building. Neighbors were concerned about the scope given that the area is zoned for single-families.

We end with a pair of potential development battles. Newton’s Community Preservation Committee approved spending $15.7 million to seize 17 acres of woodland that Boston College owns via eminent domain. And the private Buckingham, Browne & Nichols school in Cambridge is partnering with Watertown to try to outbid developers for 6.1 acres that Mount Auburn Cemetery is unloading along Grove Street in the Cambridge-Watertown borderlands.

Oh, and imagine a downtown Boston without cars. It’s easy if you try.