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

Including the coming conversion of two Boston parking lots, a bribery scandal stemming from a Southie condo conversion, and the neighborhoods to watch now

Construction on a large tower called Winthrop Center in downtown Boston. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Critical Mass. is a weekly roundup of the most notable development news in the Boston area. This week we’ve got “lots” to cover.


Rendering of the proposed Alexandra Hotel redevelopment. Courtesy of CBT Architects

The plan to gut and redevelop the old Alexandra Hotel at Massachusetts Avenue and Washington Street in the South End-Roxbury borderlands won unanimous approval from the South End Landmarks District Commission on September 3. Construction could start as soon as early 2020, and is expected to take two years.

Speaking of the South End, it’s one of the seven neighborhoods anyone who wants to understand the Boston region’s built future should be watching as the calendar clicks over to fall. Others include two Cambridge hubs along the Red Line, the host of Logan Airport, and a potential new downtown for Somerville.

An aerial view of a map showing where a Boston development site is located. Colliers International

Mayor Marty Walsh ordered a full review of the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal, including how the mayoral-appointed panel functions, amid a bribery scandal involving the conversion of a South Boston warehouse into luxury condos. Federal authorities are also investigating.

Divining the future of the old Suffolk Downs racetrack on the East Boston-Revere border has been one of the region’s great real estate parlor games for years now. The most important thing to know as of early September? What’s going there is going to be big. For instance, there are now expected to be roughly 10,000 housing units, including condos.

Finally, to probably the most significant development news of the week: the pending conversions of two more Boston parking lots. It’s a big trend in the city—the death of conventional parking norms. An Arlington Street lot in Bay Village is on the block and likely to host residential development, and a Morrissey Boulevard lot in Dorchester is on its way to hosting a 200-unit apartment complex (see its location above).