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Bernie Sanders’ campaign sounds off on East Boston’s Suffolk Downs redevelopment

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Other big development news of the week includes Boston’s hotel-building boom, a new office building in Kendall Square, and a prime parcel up for grabs in the South End

An aerial view of the cityscape of Boston. In the distance are various bodies of water adjacent to the cityscape. Rendering via HYM Group

Welcome back to Critical Mass., in which Curbed Boston covers all the major development news in the region every week. This go-round includes Boston’s hotel-building boom, a new office building in Kendall Square, and a prime parcel up for grabs in the South End. Come along. —Tom Acitelli, Curbed Boston editor


Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders sounded off on the possible redevelopment of the old Suffolk Downs racetrack on the East Boston-Revere border via his campaign’s Twitter feed. The Vermont senator criticized what he—or whoever runs his social media—described as “more gentrifying luxury developments for the few.” Massachusetts’ Democratic primary is Tuesday.

Now to Cambridge’s busy, busy Kendall Square, where plans for a 16-story office and lab building at 585 Third Street presently include a 10,000-square-foot lobby designed to serve as a kind of living room for the neighborhood. There is also supposed to be an approximately 300-seat, two-story theater higher up in the building for local performing arts groups.

Speaking of development, the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church building at 157 West Springfield Street in the South End will be listed for sale within the next 45 days, very likely becoming the latest Boston-area house of worship to find new life as a development. The church is decamping to temporary quarters in Roxbury as it awaits the sale.

Photo of a city skyline with a bubble and an arrow pointing to a lot. Dartmouth Company

And, Bay Village, a developer well-known for residential projects closed this week on its purchase of the 14,180-square-foot surface parking lot at 132 Arlington Street. The site is likely to remain a destination for parking for at least another year under its current lease. Then it will become yet another redeveloped Boston parking lot.

To an opening now: Jamaica Plain’s 82-unit VITA, which has been under construction for two years, has opened to residents. Sales at the 3531 Washington Street complex are averaging just under $700,000 each. The highest gross price so far at the six-story building has been $1.293 million.

Now to some anticipated openings of the hospitality sort. There are eight major hotels under construction in Boston and Cambridge as of the end of February. Together, the projects are due to add 2,398 rooms by mid-2022, and represent the biggest jump in hotel-room construction in both cities this century.

Big, you say? The redevelopment of the (probably) doomed Hynes Convention Center could throw off some 2.3 million square feet of new space, per recent estimates. Stay tuned.