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

The sale of Newbury College, a private dorm for Northeastern, a Back Bay hotel pitch, a brouhaha in Newton—and more

Critical Mass. is a weekly roundup of the most notable development news in the Boston area. This busy go-round runs the gamut from new dorms in the South End to new condos in the Seaport to new proposals in Newton. Read on.


An aerial rendering of a multi-building project proposal. Rendering via Elkus Manfredi

First to the bigger of the Newton proposals. A development team has trimmed its proposal for a parking lot next to the Green Line’s Riverside stop to 1.2 million square feet with 524 housing units from 1.5 million square feet with 675 units. Will that be enough to appease opponents skittish about the scope?

Meanwhile, one of the same developers is trying to bring 243 apartments and 12,150 square feet of ground-floor retail to the corner of Dunstan and Washington streets in West Newton, in a footprint that includes the Barn Family Show Store. There’s concern about the scope there too.

And, speaking of parking lots, there are at least four in Boston proper that are slated for redevelopment, including the last surface lot along Newbury Street in Back Bay and an asphalt expanse next to the future General Electric headquarters in Fort Point.

This week also brought a peek at the prices in the under-construction St. Regis Residences, Boston, in the Seaport District. The 22-story tower will not come cheap: Its 114 units start at $2 million and run to at least $10 million (the developer has yet to disclose the penthouse prices).

Not nearly as high, but perhaps equally eyebrow-raising are the rents at the newly completed Ten Essex in Cambridge’s Central Square. Studios in the 46-unit building just off the Red Line started at $2,500—and tenants have leased all of them.

More work wrapping (and also along the Red Line too): Construction on the final building for what has turned out to be a major life sciences campus in Cambridge’s Alewife area. Dubbed Cambridge Discovery Park, it occupies the old 27-acre HQ of consultancy Arthur D. Little.

A billiard room with couches and young people. flaunt Boston

Never mind wrapping, this one is done. A 20-story, 825-bed private dormitory for Northeastern undergrads has opened at 744 Columbus Avenue in the South End. Developer and operator American Campus Communities calls it the first developer-led, equity-financed student housing project in Boston and Mayor Marty Walsh says it could serve as a model for other local schools.

School-related too: Newbury College, which shuttered this spring, sold its 10-acre campus in Brookline’s Fisher Hill to a real estate investment trust that specializes in partnering on senior housing, rehab facilities, and outpatient medical offices. Welltower paid $34 million for the site, which could be seen as a relative deal.

And a pair of developers—including one that specializes in Club Quarters hotels—is proposing a 240-foot, 300-room inn at 39 Stanhope Street in the Back Bay.

Finally, too, the would-be developers of Dorchester’s old Bayside Expo site have begun approaching the locals regarding plans for the 20-acre expanse.