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Construction in Boston could slowly ramp up again amid coronavirus

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Other big development news this week is a drop-off in sales listings, suggesting that the downtown Boston market that new development drove is feeling the pandemic’s effects

A lone construction worker closing a chain-link fence at a construction site, and there’s an orange barrel next to him. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Welcome back to Critical Mass., in which Curbed Boston covers the region’s major development news every week. The novel coronavirus continues to disrupt things, with the week’s biggest stories all tied to the pandemic. First up is a very tentative timetable for restarting construction activity in Boston. Then we’re talking sales and new development. Come along.

Construction could slowly restart in Boston after a mid-March moratorium due to the novel coronavirus pandemic brought everything largely to a halt. That is according to Mayor Marty Walsh, who spoke virtually to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this week about his plans to talk with general contractors and subcontractors about getting projects throughout the city underway once again. Any amp-up probably won’t start in April, though.

When construction does rumble back in Boston, many of the busiest projects will surround new housing (work on which Gov. Charlie Baker has deemed essential statewide anyway). Condo development has driven so much of the city’s years-long building boom. But there’s potentially bad news for developers bringing such units to market soon: There were signs at the end of March of a drop-off in sales activity, just as the pandemic took hold of the city and surrounding region. Will that famous Boston housing demand return post-pandemic?