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Newton close to seizing Webster Woods from Boston College

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The week’s other big development news includes a Somerville life sciences building, the rollout of Fenway Center, and, yes, another big going-on in Newton

A sidewalk in a leafy suburb with a sign saying, “Save Webster Woods!” planted in the grass. 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 round includes major projects in Newton’s Upper Falls and Boston’s Fenway as well as the developments of the decade.


A kind of curvy-looking rectangular glass building with a walker in front of it and trees between the walker and the building. Boston Globe via Getty Images

First those developments of the decade. These were the most consequential projects to go up or get underway in the Boston region during the 2010s. They include Encore Boston Harbor, Assembly Row, Boston Landing (above), and Seaport Square.

Now to Newton, where the City Council there granted key approvals to one of the largest developments in the city’s modern history: a 22.6-acre, 14-building project that is due to include 800 apartments and a privately run shuttle to the Green Line. Some residents are vowing to fight on, concerned about the scope and the impact.

Staying in Newton, where councilors also took a big step toward seizing some 17 acres of woodland called Webster Woods from Boston College. The city—and some of its residents— say it’s needed to preserve Newton’s existing open space from development.

A small two-story house with a pointed roof and a yard of stones. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Thank the gods there is no effort underway to preserve this next property: The South Boston house at 799 East Third Street where gangster Whitey Bulger buried some of his victims. Instead, the property continues to inch closer to redevelopment.

Over to Somerville now, where the team behind a 290,000-square-foot life sciences building at 101 South Street in the Boynton Yards footprint hosted an official groundbreaking for the project, which does not yet have a tenant lined up.

Two glassy buildings, the taller one in the background. Photos courtesy of Gerding Edlen

Back to Boston, where the developers behind the five-building Fenway Center where Beacon Street meets the Massachusetts Turnpike and Commonwealth Avenue announced the project’s first phase will open in spring 2020. It’s a two-building, 312-unit apartment complex called Bower. It will not be cheap.

Finally, the polls are open to pick the 2019 building of the year in Greater Boston. Nominees include Encore Boston Harbor, One Dalton, and LightView. Be sure to vote!