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Developers size up land around WBZ-TV studios in Allston

Other big development news of the week includes another major project in Allston as well as ones in Somerville and Cambridge—and the top neighborhoods of the 2010s

The exterior of a three-story commercial building. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Welcome back to Critical Mass., in which Curbed Boston covers all the major development news in the region every week. This go-round includes major projects in Allston, Central Square, and South Boston as well as the top neighborhoods of the 2010s.


Starting in Allston with a trio of big goings-on. The first involves developers continuing to size up the site of WBZ-TV’s Allston studios at 1170-1200 Soldiers Field Road. The plan now is to replace the studios and then redevelop the land around it into offices and labs.

And Harvard has picked Manhattan-based developer Tishman Speyer—best-known perhaps for controlling most of Rockefeller Center—to build out 14 acres along Western Avenue into what the school calls its Enterprise Research Campus.

Finally re: Allston, the Boston Planning and Development Agency signed off on the four-building Allston Yards project on the site of the Stop & Shop supermarket and surrounding parking lots off Everett Street near the Massachusetts Turnpike. It’s due to include, among other things, 868 condos and apartments.

Rendering of a rectangular, four-story building amid a city streetscape. Archdiocese of Boston/BPDA

Now to Mattapan, where work started on Cote Village, a four-floor, 76-unit affordable- and workforce-housing development on the long-vacant site of a former car dealership at 30-32 Regis Road. The project is in part the result of Boston efforts to fill city-owned sites along the Fairmount commuter-rail line.

Another affordable-housing development is taking shape in Jamaica Plain via a somewhat novel setup for Boston. Payments that the developer of One Congress Street—a 1 million-square-foot office tower that’s part of the Bulfinch Crossing project in downtown—will help underwrite a six-story apartment building at 3368 Washington Street with 140 studios set aside for the formerly homeless.

Speaking of projects advancing, the Cambridge City Council signed off on zoning changes for a redevelopment of the CambridgeSide mall and its parking lot in East Cambridge. That project is due to include offices, lab space, and housing.

Time for the week’s most significant advancement: The Somerville City Council approved the municipality’s biggest zoning overhaul since 1990—some rules had been in place since the 1920s! Among other immediate changes, the new regs permit tiny homes in backyards.

Rendering of a five-story, squarish hotel amid a city. Rendering via Gensler

In neighboring Cambridge, the five-story, 67-room 907 Main hotel is preparing to open early next year. It will be Central Square’s first boutique inn and joins other new recent development in the area.

And, over in South Boston, there are tentative plans to replace a gym and an industrial building near the Red Line’s Broadway stop with a 21-story building with 265 residential units, while in Dorchester next-door a developer won approval to replace an old motorcycle garage at Pleasant and Roach streets with a three-story, eight-unit residential building.

Finally, a damning new report showed just how much housing the land around T and commuter-rail stops could support. Will more transit-oriented development be a feature of the coming decade? It certainly was in several neighborhoods during this one. Stay warm.