Welcome back to Critical Mass., in which Curbed Boston covers all the major development news in the region every week. This round includes more development in mighty, mighty Dorchester, Boston’s emerging co-living trend, and a major change for a Financial District tower. Come along. —Tom Acitelli, Curbed Boston editor
First, though, there’s news about that rarest of realities in Boston proper: a large tract of developable land. Mattapan’s Jubilee Christian Church is selling 25 contiguous acres off American Legion Highway in Roslindale. The land could host all sorts of development, including housing, retail, and life sciences.
Speaking of developable land, a builder detailed plans this week to fill 1.3 acres behind the South Bay mall in Dorchester. The project would produce 239 housing units in three buildings, and would include widened sidewalks and publicly accessible open space.
Dorchester in general is booming with construction and construction proposals, including at the old Bayside Expo site and on a stretch of land that UMass-Boston owns on Columbia Point. Here’s hoping the Red Line can handle it.
Now out to Allston, where Boston’s second major co-living project is taking root. The Boston Planning and Development Agency signed off on a 278-bedroom, 80-unit co-living complex at 525 Lincoln Street. Dubbed Common Allbright, the project would replace yet another surface parking lot in Boston with a six-story building.
Our next bit isn’t about ground-up development, but a major makeover for an existing building in Boston’s Financial District. The owner of the 17-story, 227,360-square-foot office property at 175 Federal Street has filed plans to add a three-story, street-level glass enclosure around the lobby with 12,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space. The building’s frontage would also be reoriented toward the Dewey Square-South Station area.
More renovation news: The Pru’s owner says it now plans to spend $125 million-plus to renovate floors 50 through 52 of the skyscraper, the same floors that now include the Top of the Hub restaurant and Skywalk Observatory. Those are closing in April. Work is supposed to wrap in time for a mid-2022 reopening.
Finally, another reminder of another reason why Boston-area housing costs are so high relative to much of the rest of the nation. Boston’s zoning appeals board rejected a proposal to replace three long-vacant garages in Jamaica Plain with 14 apartments because some residents were concerned about losing parking options.