clock menu more-arrow no yes
A crane with a flag putting a beam into place on a 13-story building. Davis Companies

The 25 Boston-area projects to watch in 2020

Exchange South End, Upper Falls, the BEAT, Winthrop Center, Allston Yards, Suffolk Downs—these and so many others are worth keeping tabs on this year

View as Map

As 2020 rolls into spring, these 25 Boston-area projects in particular are worth following.

They are either large in scope or ambitious in purpose—or both—and are set to collectively add thousands of housing units to a region starved for the stuff and hundreds of thousands of square feet of office, lab, and retail space.

Read More

1. Suffolk Downs

Copy Link
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128
(617) 568-3216
Visit Website

The debate over the fate of the former 161-acre Suffolk Downs racetrack on the Boston-Revere border will continue in 2020, as developer the HYM Investment Group tweaks its plans for the parcel.

Those plans could include around 10,000 apartments and condos as well as office space for 25,000 workers and publicly accessible areas such as parks—an entire new neighborhood, in other words, just off the Blue Line. There’s a lot to still be worked out, though, including the management of those public areas and the makeup of that housing.

Empty bleachers facing the empty curve of a horse-racing track. Boston Globe via Getty Images

2. Cambridge Crossing (CX)

Copy Link
320 Morgan Ave
Cambridge, MA 02141

The project that bills itself as a new “neighborhood at the intersection of Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston” will continue unfolding in 2020. Consumer goods giant Philips North America, for instance, is expected to relocate its headquarters to CX’s 222 Jacobs Street (pictured) from Andover this year. 

Developed by San Francisco-based DivcoWest, the 43-acre CX will eventually include 2.1 million square feet of lab and tech space, approximately 2,400 new housing units (in addition to the 2,500 existing units there now), and 100,000 square feet of retail. It will all be located near mass transit, never mind downtown Boston and Cambridge’s Kendall Square

The exterior of a multistory, glass office building. DivcoWest

3. 1170-1200 Soldiers Field Road

Copy Link
1200 Soldiers Field Rd
Boston, MA 02134

National Development and the Mount Vernon Company are developing plans to replace WBZ-TV’s office and studio space—and the adjacent 133 parking spaces—with brand-new facilities. Once that’s done, the rest of the Allston site could be opened up to development.

It would join a slew of major new development in the neighborhood. The plans are in flux, though, but 2020 could easily bring a definitive proposal and timeline.

The entrance of a two-story building. Getty Images

4. 1240 Soldiers Field Road

Copy Link
1240 Soldiers Field Rd
Boston, MA 02135

Boston-based developer the Davis Companies filed initial plans in late January with the Boston Planning and Development Agency for a 535-unit apartment building on the nearly 2-acre site of the Skating Club of Boston. The company acquired it in 2018, and the club is expected to decamp to Norwood in the summer. 

The new apartment building would be 22 stories and would include 220 underground parking spots.

The developer also wants to replace the barely year-old Studio Allston hotel next-door to the Skating Club site—which it also owns (and which was formerly a Days hotel)—with a 255-room hotel and 120 condos.

But that would follow any redevelopment of the Skating Club site—the details of which could be finalized in 2020.

5. Harvard’s Enterprise Research Campus

Copy Link
114 Western Ave
Allston, MA 02134

In late December, Harvard picked Manhattan-based developer Tishman Speyer to build out 14 acres that the university owns in Allston. While that selection ended months of speculation regarding who would develop the land—which is due to host what Harvard’s calling its Enterprise Research Campus—it has not settled what exactly will go there and what it will look like. That should come in 2020.

Harvard already has initial regulatory permission from the Boston Planning and Development Agency for 900,000 square feet on the parcel, which will join a ream of other development in Allston, some of it Harvard-driven. Current plans call for a mix of 400,000 square feet of office and lab space for research-focused companies, green space, 250,000 square feet of residences, and a 250,000-square-foot hotel and conference center.

That mix and those dimensions might change. And the design under the supervision of architect firm Studio Gang could evolve as well.

Rendering of a public square outside of an office complex. Rendering via Tishman Speyer

6. Boston Harbor Garage redevelopment

Copy Link
270 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 720-5135
Visit Website

The Pinnacle at Central Wharf. That’s what the Chiofaro Company is calling its latest attempt to redevelop the seven-story Boston Harbor Garage that it’s owned since 2007. The Boston-based developer filed its most detailed plans yet for the project in January, kicking off a months-long review.

The broad strokes of the proposal paint a picture of a 600-foot tower that would be one of the tallest U.S. buildings north of New York City and an unmistakable aesthetic presence on the waterfront via the wedding-cake-like design from Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

The approximately 865,000-square-foot Pinnacle would include a 285,000-square-foot residential component with around 200 housing units; 538,000 square feet of what the developer described as “customizable” office space; and 42,000 square feet of publicly accessible space, including restaurants and retail.

Chiofaro has, of course, been trying for many years to redevelop the garage. Myriad challenges have confronted the firm, including opposition from neighbors—including the New England Aquarium and the owners in the Harbor Towers condo complex—as well as financing and zoning issues.

Rendering of a busy streetscape at the base of a tower. Chiofaro Company

7. Allston Yards

Copy Link
60 Everett St
Allston, MA 02134

The Boston Planning and Development Agency signed off in December on the four-building Allston Yards project on the site of the Stop & Shop supermarket and surrounding parking lots off Everett Street near the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The 10.6-acre project is due to include up to 868 condos and apartments, with 148 of those income-restricted. The development will also bring 1 acre of privately owned public parkland as well as 117,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space (including a new Stop & Shop), 350,000 square feet of office space, and 10,000 square feet of community art space. 

It could take up to 10 years for the development team behind Allston Yards—which includes New England Development and Stop & Shop parent Ahold Delhaize—to roll out the more than 1.2 million-square-foot development, one of the largest in Allston’s history.

8. Allston Square

Copy Link
334 Cambridge St
Boston, MA 02134

The Boston Planning and Development Agency approved this six-building project in November and the Zoning Board of Appeal signed off in February—so the developer could very well start construction before the end of 2020.

It’s due to include 100 rental units and 244 ownership spreads. Those spreads will include 12 income-restricted ones aimed at artists seeking live-work space. All totaled, 45 of Allston Square’s units will be income-restricted. 

Four of the six buildings will be new, and developer City Realty plans to preserve and incorporate the existing Allston Hall at 4 Braintree Street and the Allen Building at 334 Cambridge Street—the former home of Jack Young Auto Parts—as part of the project. 

Allston Square is also due to host a lot of public artwork, including murals and sculptures as well as 9,000 square feet of exhibition space amid 27,758 square feet of open space. These spaces are meant to connect the six buildings too. And there will be 158 parking spaces and 12,860 square feet of retail.

A rendering of a curved four-story building on a city street. City Realty/BPDA

9. Winthrop Center

Copy Link
115 Winthrop Square
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 451-0300
Visit Website

This is one of the more noteworthy projects to watch simply because it’s the tallest. Developer Millennium Partners is erecting a 691-foot mixed-use tower at the former site of the Winthrop Square Garage— destined to be one of the tallest U.S. towers north of New York City

In October, the developer proposed changes to what it’s calling Winthrop Center, suggesting that, whatever the construction pace, the tower’s plans are still in flux. 

That 691-foot height remains. But the building’s area will now be 1,545,021 square feet versus the 1.65 million gross square feet permitted. The building’s residential and office components also changed. The current condo count of 387, for instance, “may continue to evolve based on the size of the penthouse units and the market demand,” according to Millennium. 

Expect further evolution in 2020, or the finalization of plans for the prominent spire.

A construction site in a city center, with construction vehicles on top of rubble. Boston Globe via Getty Images

10. South Station towers

Copy Link
700 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 523-1300
Visit Website

One of the biggest parlor games in Boston-area real estate the past several years has been speculating on the fate of plans to plunk a multi-building project on and around South Station, New England’s busiest train and bus hub.

Well, lead developer Hines started construction work in January, thanks to an air rights deal. Commuters and others who use the station will really start to feel the work in July, though, as workers cordon off certain areas.

The project is due to include a 678-foot glassy tower erupting from the station, high enough to become one of the tallest U.S. buildings north of New York City.

Rendering a glassy tower coming out of a squat train station. Hines

11. BU’s Center for Computing and Data Sciences

Copy Link
645 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Boston University officially broke ground in December on one of the more interesting developments architecture-wise in Boston in recent memory: The future Center for Computing and Data Sciences, which will house BU’s mathematics, computer science, and statistics departments under one—very environmentally sustainable—roof in Kenmore Square.

The university proposed the 350,000-square-foot, 19-story building in the fall of 2018, and the Boston Planning and Development Agency signed off on it this past July. It will replace a surface parking lot (sound familiar?). 

The project’s most striking aspect is that architecture, which Toronto-based KPMB Architects came up with. Simply put, the building is designed to look like a stack of books. It will also be the tallest on BU’s campus, with a four-story podium above a basement and then 13 floors on top of that, with a top floor for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing apparatuses.

A 19-story building that looks like a stack of books. Renderings via KPMB

12. 560 Commonwealth Avenue

Copy Link
560 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

A 29-story, 391-room hotel at 560 Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square looks increasingly likely following the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s approval of the project in December.

 

The triangular property at Beacon Street and Comm. Ave. would resemble Manhattan’s famed Flatiron building, and would also mean the demolition of the existing building at the site. What’s more, the project would lead to a new publicly accessible street connecting Comm. Ave. and Beacon—behind the hotel as well as in between a new plaza, also part of the project, and the former building’s site. 

Mark Development, the firm behind the project (it first proposed it back in May 2017), has said that the streetscape changes will help Kenmore traffic move through the square like a “signalized round-about.” In the end, the changes would mean the elimination of 200 feet of the southbound portion of Comm. Ave. and 300 feet of the westbound portion of Beacon.

13. Bower at 771 Beacon Street

Copy Link
771 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02215

The first phase of the five-building Fenway Center development where Beacon Street meets the Massachusetts Turnpike and Commonwealth Avenue will open in the spring, according to developer Gerding Edlen, which is developing the phase along with Meredith Management and Nuveen Real Estate.

That first phase will consist of 312 apartments in two residential buildings sharing the address of 771 Beacon Street and the name of Bower. The phase is due to also include 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 200 underground parking spaces. as well as a 12,000-square-foot deck and landscaped pedestrian walkway over Landsdowne Station, the commuter-rail stop that the phase abuts.

Fenway Center’s second and final phase—which is likely to shift more to commercial space, including for life sciences firms, from housingcould wrap in 2023.

Two multi-story glass buildings under construction, with the taller one behind. Photo courtesy of Gerding Edlen

14. 244-288 A Street

Copy Link
244 A St
Boston, MA 02210

Related Beal in November filed tentative plans with the Boston Planning and Development Agency to redevelop 6.5 acres of parking lot that Gillette parent Procter & Gamble once owned into an approximately 1.1 million-square-foot mixed-use development. 

That development is due to include “a laboratory/research & development building” running to 400,000 square feet and reaching 123 feet in height, according to the filing. The proposal also calls for a residential building of around 366,000 square feet with a height of 180 feet; and a conventional office building of around 334,000 square feet, also reaching to 180 feet. 

The proposal is notable not only for its scope, its location, and its inclusion of so much potential life sciences space, but because it would also mean the end of another surface parking lot, an example of one of the region’s animating real estate trends in 2020. 

A crowded parking lot. Getty Images

15. 100 Shawmut Avenue

Copy Link
100 Shawmut Ave
Boston, MA 02118

This 13-story, 138-unit condo building officially topped off in early March. The luxury development in a neighborhood peppered with them is expected to open this fall.

Pre-sales have already started, and a release from lead developer the Davis Companies says that those pre-sales have been met “with strong interest.” (A spokeswoman declined to elaborate.)

The development at Herald Street and Shawmut Avenue is due to include 22 studios, 34 one-bedrooms, 23 one-bedrooms with a den, 27 two-bedrooms, 15 two-bedrooms with a den, 12 three-bedrooms, three three-bedrooms with a den, and two four-bedrooms. Eleven of the units will be penthouses.

Davis broke ground on the project in summer 2019. It had acquired the six-story office property there for $26.2 million four years earlier, touching off speculation about what the developer might build in a South End used to construction cranes and new housing

The 232,000-square-foot 100 Shawmut incorporates the 1920s facade of the office building that was there within a new glass structure. The Architectural Team, based in Chelsea, handled that design, and EMBARC Studio of Boston designed the interiors. Copley Wolff is the landscape architect.

The building’s amenities are due to include a 24-hour concierge, private parking for 112, billiards, a fitness center, a dog-washing station, and a playroom for the kids. A rooftop lounge is expected to include gas grills and fire pits. 

In the end, the years-in-the-making project came about through a partnership between Davis, the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC), and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA).

Davis, as part of advancing 100 Shawmut, is contributing $15 million to a city-controlled escrow account for developing affordable housing at a CCBA-owned site at 50 Herald Street next to 100 Shawmut. That project is expected to hold 313 apartments, 26 percent of which will be designated affordable

The partnership also means an expanded BCEC building at 120 Shawmut Avenue in the same vicinity, which will house ecclesiastical space as well as 84 housing units. Davis has also committed $200,000 to various community programs as part of the partnership, the developer said last summer.

A crane with a flag putting a beam into place on a 13-story building. Davis Companies

16. Old Edison power plant

Copy Link
776 Summer St
Boston, MA 02127

Developers Redgate and Hilco could settle on plans for redeveloping the approximately 15-acre former site of the Edison Power Plan in South Boston. The developers have negotiated and re-negotiated with critics of the redevelopment’s scope, and in November came out with their latest plans.

Those plans call for a 1.78 millions-square-foot, nine-building project that would include 960,000 square feet of office and research/development space as well as up to 636 housing units. There would also be a 240-key hotel and 80,000 square feet of retail, never mind 1,124 parking spaces.

The plans are still evolving—they once called for as many as 1,588 housing units—but 2020 might bring some definitiveness for one of the single biggest projects in Southie in recent memory.

Rendering of a cavernous food hall filled with shoppers and including a large staircase. Rendering via Stantec

17. Exchange South End

Copy Link
591 Albany St
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 357-7009
Visit Website

The Abbey Group, a Boston-based developer, demolished the former site of the Boston Flower Exchange in December. The move was in anticipation of transforming the 5.6-acre parcel into a 1.6 million-square-foot, four-building technology and life sciences campus. The Boston Planning and Development Agency approved the project in August. (The flower exchange moved to Chelsea in 2016.)

The new project is also due to include 22,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet of community space as well as a privately owned, publicly accessible one-acre expanse called Albany Green, complete with benches.

In announcing the demolition, the Abbey Group drew a link between the site’s former purpose as “a physical exchange of goods for much of the 20th century” and its future as “an exchange of ideas, technology, and culture for the 21st.”

An aerial view of four new buildings amid an urban landscape that includes highways and a harbor. The Abbey Group

18. 840 Columbus Avenue

Copy Link
840 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA 02120

In November, Northeastern University filed plans with the city to construct another privately developed and operated dormitory at 840 Columbus Avenue. It would stretch to 26 floors and include 975 beds. The first five floors of the approximately 525,000-square-foot building would be academic and office space with the remaining 21 floors dedicated to the dorms.

The university developed its first such dorm—with Texas-based American Campus Communities—at 744 Columbus Avenue in the South End. That 20-story, 825-bed dorm opened in September.

Officials, most prominently Mayor Marty Walsh, hailed it as a way to potentially alleviate Boston’s notorious residential real estate crunch by drawing hundreds of students out of the general housing hunt and freeing up that many more apartments. Might the proposed spire at 840 Columbus help do the same? This year might see its approval. 

Rendering of a tall, boxy residential building. BPDA/Elkus Manfredi

19. Parcel P-3

Copy Link
1200 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02120

The Boston Planning and Development Agency expects this year to launch another round of bidding for the 7.5-acre site know as Parcel P-3. It’s the largest development site in Roxbury, and it was supposed to host a 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development called Tremont Crossing. That fell apart in 2019 after years of financing troubles. 

To give an idea of just how much development Parcel P-3 could host, Tremont Crossing (rendered here) was due to include 727 apartments as well as a new Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists as well as a BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Rendering of a busy pedestrian plaza in between high-rises and stores.

20. Old Bayside Expo Center/2 Morrissey Boulevard

Copy Link
2 Morrissey Blvd
Dorchester, MA 02125

Two adjacent sites could end up hosting 5.9 million square feet of new development under tentative plans that developer Accordia Partners filed with the Boston Planning and Development Agency in early March.

 

The sites—the old Bayside Expo Center that the University of Massachusetts leased to Accordia and a partner in mid-2019 for $235 million and another site at 2 Morrissey Boulevard, which the partners also acquired last year and which includes a Santander bank building—would host lab space, housing, offices, retail, and restaurant space, according to the plans.

That could translate into as many as 1,740 new housing units, more than 4 million square feet of office space, and 155,000 square feet of shops and eateries—basically an entire new mini-neighborhood just off the JFK/UMass stop of the Red Line, complete with fresh streets and walkways. 

The 32-acre project would easily be one of the largest single developments in modern Boston history, and would join a slew of new development in the Dorchester-South Boston borderlands. Right now, things are in flux as Accordia continues to meet with residents and local officials. The March filing, though, kicked off a months-long formal review.

Construction equipment demolishing an old mall site. Boston Globe via Getty Images

21. The BEAT

Copy Link
135 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125

The conversion of the Boston Globe’s former Dorchester headquarters—seen here in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight—could wrap as soon as July, according to lead developer Nordblom.

Work on the 16.5-acre site off Morrissey Boulevard, near the JFK/Umass and Savin Hill Red Line stops, has been underway since late 2018. It’s supposed to leave behind an approximately 695,000-square-foot development with some 360,000 square feet of office space and 300,000 square feet of flex-slash-light industrial-slash-lab space. A craft brewery and a beer garden, as well as parking for 868 automobiles and 200 bikes, are part of the deal too.

There is one big question mark hanging over the project, however: tenants. 

What sorts of firms does the developer want? A clue is in the project’s name: Nordblom long ago dubbed it the BEAT—as in the Boston Exchange for Accelerated Technology. Basically, the developer has positioned the BEAT to compete with other tech-life sciences hubs such as Cambridge’s almighty Kendall Square and the emerging Exchange South End a couple of neighborhoods over.

Rendering of a boxy and glassy mixed-use complex. Nordblom Company

22. 3368 Washington Street

Copy Link
3368 Washington St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

What’s being called the largest permanent supportive housing development of its kind in Boston won approval from the Boston Planning and Development Agency in mid-November.

Pine Street Inn and the Community Builders Inc., a nonprofit developer, want to build a five-story, 202-unit mixed-use property at 3368 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain that would include offices for Pine Street as well as 140 studios for people who were formerly homeless. The remaining units would be for households earning between 60 percent and 80 percent of the area median income.

Pine Street, a major provider of shelter and outreach to the homeless, currently owns 3368 Washington. The warehouse on the site is expected to be demolished as part of the development. And, while the BPDA approval was a major step, the project still needs to line up financing before its backers can start construction. That financing could come in 2020.

Rendering of a long four-story building along a street. RODE Architects

23. Needham and Oak streets in Newton’s Upper Falls

Copy Link
156 Oak St
Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464

Demolition work could start before the end of 2020 on a 22.6-acre, 14-building development in Newton’s Upper Falls area following an early March vote by residents that broke in favor of the project by more than 5,000 ballots. Construction work would follow in 2021. 

Recall that in December the Newton City Council overwhelmingly approved Northland Investment Corporation’s plans to develop the acreage at Needham and Oak streets in Upper Falls, including into 800 apartments, with 120 designated affordable.

The project—at 156 Oak Street, 275-281 Needham Street, and 55 Tower Road—is also slated to include 180,000 square feet of offices and 115,000 square feet of retail and community space. It would replace much of a strip mall that Northland controls.

The early December approvals from the City Council represented the culmination of a long back-and-forth with elected officials and locals. As with other Newton projects—and with many projects in the Boston area—there had been concerns about the impact of such a development on traffic and infrastructure.

Northland for its part is planning to offer shuttle service back and forth from the Newton Highlands stop on the Green Line, perhaps a sign of more privately funded public transit to come. And the developer will provide $1.5 million for work on a local elementary school. Plus, Northland will reserve 10 acres as privately owned public space.

Rendering of a multi-story building with a lot of activity around it. Northland Investment Corporation

24. Fields Corner library branch

Copy Link
1520 Dorchester Ave
Dorchester, MA 02122

In 2019, the Boston Public Library floated plans to add apartments atop library branches. The Fields Corner branch in Dorchester would serve as the prototype—one proposal for it would add 36 apartments—with development atop branches in Uphams Corner (also in Dorchester) and Egleston Square in Roxbury likely to follow.

The motive behind the proposal is obvious: to add housing to a housing-starved city. But it’s complicated. There are state laws prohibiting the sort of public-private partnerships that would likely be necessary for building atop the libraries. And there are differing opinions as to what sort of housing should go up if any goes up at all. Might it just be for seniors, for instance, or should it be market-rate?

This year could bring some clarity and end up touching off one of the more interesting development trends in Boston in a while.

Rendering of a four-story building. Boston Public Library

25. 15 Everett Street

Copy Link
15 Everett St
Hyde Park, MA 02136

Boston officials in November picked Philadelphia-based Penrose LLC to develop New England’s first LGBTQ-friendly senior housing complex on the site of a shuttered middle school in Hyde Park. Construction is likely to start in 2020.

The $32 million renovation—which includes preserving parts of the school—is expected to create 74 affordable and market-rate apartments within the next few years. It will also include 10,000 square feet of community space. 

Rendering of a courtyard with walking paths and benches. Mikyoung Kim Design/Dimella Shaffer

Loading comments...

1. Suffolk Downs

525 William F McClellan Hwy, Boston, MA 02128
Empty bleachers facing the empty curve of a horse-racing track. Boston Globe via Getty Images

The debate over the fate of the former 161-acre Suffolk Downs racetrack on the Boston-Revere border will continue in 2020, as developer the HYM Investment Group tweaks its plans for the parcel.

Those plans could include around 10,000 apartments and condos as well as office space for 25,000 workers and publicly accessible areas such as parks—an entire new neighborhood, in other words, just off the Blue Line. There’s a lot to still be worked out, though, including the management of those public areas and the makeup of that housing.

525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128

2. Cambridge Crossing (CX)

320 Morgan Ave, Cambridge, MA 02141
The exterior of a multistory, glass office building. DivcoWest

The project that bills itself as a new “neighborhood at the intersection of Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston” will continue unfolding in 2020. Consumer goods giant Philips North America, for instance, is expected to relocate its headquarters to CX’s 222 Jacobs Street (pictured) from Andover this year. 

Developed by San Francisco-based DivcoWest, the 43-acre CX will eventually include 2.1 million square feet of lab and tech space, approximately 2,400 new housing units (in addition to the 2,500 existing units there now), and 100,000 square feet of retail. It will all be located near mass transit, never mind downtown Boston and Cambridge’s Kendall Square

320 Morgan Ave
Cambridge, MA 02141

3. 1170-1200 Soldiers Field Road

1200 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02134
The entrance of a two-story building. Getty Images

National Development and the Mount Vernon Company are developing plans to replace WBZ-TV’s office and studio space—and the adjacent 133 parking spaces—with brand-new facilities. Once that’s done, the rest of the Allston site could be opened up to development.

It would join a slew of major new development in the neighborhood. The plans are in flux, though, but 2020 could easily bring a definitive proposal and timeline.

1200 Soldiers Field Rd
Boston, MA 02134

4. 1240 Soldiers Field Road

1240 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02135

Boston-based developer the Davis Companies filed initial plans in late January with the Boston Planning and Development Agency for a 535-unit apartment building on the nearly 2-acre site of the Skating Club of Boston. The company acquired it in 2018, and the club is expected to decamp to Norwood in the summer. 

The new apartment building would be 22 stories and would include 220 underground parking spots.

The developer also wants to replace the barely year-old Studio Allston hotel next-door to the Skating Club site—which it also owns (and which was formerly a Days hotel)—with a 255-room hotel and 120 condos.

But that would follow any redevelopment of the Skating Club site—the details of which could be finalized in 2020.

1240 Soldiers Field Rd
Boston, MA 02135

5. Harvard’s Enterprise Research Campus

114 Western Ave, Allston, MA 02134
Rendering of a public square outside of an office complex. Rendering via Tishman Speyer

In late December, Harvard picked Manhattan-based developer Tishman Speyer to build out 14 acres that the university owns in Allston. While that selection ended months of speculation regarding who would develop the land—which is due to host what Harvard’s calling its Enterprise Research Campus—it has not settled what exactly will go there and what it will look like. That should come in 2020.

Harvard already has initial regulatory permission from the Boston Planning and Development Agency for 900,000 square feet on the parcel, which will join a ream of other development in Allston, some of it Harvard-driven. Current plans call for a mix of 400,000 square feet of office and lab space for research-focused companies, green space, 250,000 square feet of residences, and a 250,000-square-foot hotel and conference center.

That mix and those dimensions might change. And the design under the supervision of architect firm Studio Gang could evolve as well.

114 Western Ave
Allston, MA 02134

6. Boston Harbor Garage redevelopment

270 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110
Rendering of a busy streetscape at the base of a tower. Chiofaro Company

The Pinnacle at Central Wharf. That’s what the Chiofaro Company is calling its latest attempt to redevelop the seven-story Boston Harbor Garage that it’s owned since 2007. The Boston-based developer filed its most detailed plans yet for the project in January, kicking off a months-long review.

The broad strokes of the proposal paint a picture of a 600-foot tower that would be one of the tallest U.S. buildings north of New York City and an unmistakable aesthetic presence on the waterfront via the wedding-cake-like design from Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

The approximately 865,000-square-foot Pinnacle would include a 285,000-square-foot residential component with around 200 housing units; 538,000 square feet of what the developer described as “customizable” office space; and 42,000 square feet of publicly accessible space, including restaurants and retail.

Chiofaro has, of course, been trying for many years to redevelop the garage. Myriad challenges have confronted the firm, including opposition from neighbors—including the New England Aquarium and the owners in the Harbor Towers condo complex—as well as financing and zoning issues.

270 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110

7. Allston Yards

60 Everett St, Allston, MA 02134

The Boston Planning and Development Agency signed off in December on the four-building Allston Yards project on the site of the Stop & Shop supermarket and surrounding parking lots off Everett Street near the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The 10.6-acre project is due to include up to 868 condos and apartments, with 148 of those income-restricted. The development will also bring 1 acre of privately owned public parkland as well as 117,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space (including a new Stop & Shop), 350,000 square feet of office space, and 10,000 square feet of community art space. 

It could take up to 10 years for the development team behind Allston Yards—which includes New England Development and Stop & Shop parent Ahold Delhaize—to roll out the more than 1.2 million-square-foot development, one of the largest in Allston’s history.

60 Everett St
Allston, MA 02134

8. Allston Square

334 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02134
A rendering of a curved four-story building on a city street. City Realty/BPDA

The Boston Planning and Development Agency approved this six-building project in November and the Zoning Board of Appeal signed off in February—so the developer could very well start construction before the end of 2020.

It’s due to include 100 rental units and 244 ownership spreads. Those spreads will include 12 income-restricted ones aimed at artists seeking live-work space. All totaled, 45 of Allston Square’s units will be income-restricted. 

Four of the six buildings will be new, and developer City Realty plans to preserve and incorporate the existing Allston Hall at 4 Braintree Street and the Allen Building at 334 Cambridge Street—the former home of Jack Young Auto Parts—as part of the project. 

Allston Square is also due to host a lot of public artwork, including murals and sculptures as well as 9,000 square feet of exhibition space amid 27,758 square feet of open space. These spaces are meant to connect the six buildings too. And there will be 158 parking spaces and 12,860 square feet of retail.

334 Cambridge St
Boston, MA 02134

9. Winthrop Center

115 Winthrop Square, Boston, MA 02110
A construction site in a city center, with construction vehicles on top of rubble. Boston Globe via Getty Images

This is one of the more noteworthy projects to watch simply because it’s the tallest. Developer Millennium Partners is erecting a 691-foot mixed-use tower at the former site of the Winthrop Square Garage— destined to be one of the tallest U.S. towers north of New York City

In October, the developer proposed changes to what it’s calling Winthrop Center, suggesting that, whatever the construction pace, the tower’s plans are still in flux. 

That 691-foot height remains. But the building’s area will now be 1,545,021 square feet versus the 1.65 million gross square feet permitted. The building’s residential and office components also changed. The current condo count of 387, for instance, “may continue to evolve based on the size of the penthouse units and the market demand,” according to Millennium. 

Expect further evolution in 2020, or the finalization of plans for the prominent spire.

115 Winthrop Square
Boston, MA 02110

10. South Station towers

700 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110
Rendering a glassy tower coming out of a squat train station. Hines

One of the biggest parlor games in Boston-area real estate the past several years has been speculating on the fate of plans to plunk a multi-building project on and around South Station, New England’s busiest train and bus hub.

Well, lead developer Hines started construction work in January, thanks to an air rights deal. Commuters and others who use the station will really start to feel the work in July, though, as workers cordon off certain areas.

The project is due to include a 678-foot glassy tower erupting from the station, high enough to become one of the tallest U.S. buildings north of New York City.

700 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110

11. BU’s Center for Computing and Data Sciences

645 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
A 19-story building that looks like a stack of books. Renderings via KPMB

Boston University officially broke ground in December on one of the more interesting developments architecture-wise in Boston in recent memory: The future Center for Computing and Data Sciences, which will house BU’s mathematics, computer science, and statistics departments under one—very environmentally sustainable—roof in Kenmore Square.

The university proposed the 350,000-square-foot, 19-story building in the fall of 2018, and the Boston Planning and Development Agency signed off on it this past July. It will replace a surface parking lot (sound familiar?). 

The project’s most striking aspect is that architecture, which Toronto-based KPMB Architects came up with. Simply put, the building is designed to look like a stack of books. It will also be the tallest on BU’s campus, with a four-story podium above a basement and then 13 floors on top of that, with a top floor for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing apparatuses.

645 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

12. 560 Commonwealth Avenue

560 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

A 29-story, 391-room hotel at 560 Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square looks increasingly likely following the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s approval of the project in December.

 

The triangular property at Beacon Street and Comm. Ave. would resemble Manhattan’s famed Flatiron building, and would also mean the demolition of the existing building at the site. What’s more, the project would lead to a new publicly accessible street connecting Comm. Ave. and Beacon—behind the hotel as well as in between a new plaza, also part of the project, and the former building’s site. 

Mark Development, the firm behind the project (it first proposed it back in May 2017), has said that the streetscape changes will help Kenmore traffic move through the square like a “signalized round-about.” In the end, the changes would mean the elimination of 200 feet of the southbound portion of Comm. Ave. and 300 feet of the westbound portion of Beacon.

560 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

13. Bower at 771 Beacon Street

771 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02215
Two multi-story glass buildings under construction, with the taller one behind. Photo courtesy of Gerding Edlen

The first phase of the five-building Fenway Center development where Beacon Street meets the Massachusetts Turnpike and Commonwealth Avenue will open in the spring, according to developer Gerding Edlen, which is developing the phase along with Meredith Management and Nuveen Real Estate.

That first phase will consist of 312 apartments in two residential buildings sharing the address of 771 Beacon Street and the name of Bower. The phase is due to also include 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 200 underground parking spaces. as well as a 12,000-square-foot deck and landscaped pedestrian walkway over Landsdowne Station, the commuter-rail stop that the phase abuts.

Fenway Center’s second and final phase—which is likely to shift more to commercial space, including for life sciences firms, from housingcould wrap in 2023.

771 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02215

14. 244-288 A Street

244 A St, Boston, MA 02210
A crowded parking lot. Getty Images

Related Beal in November filed tentative plans with the Boston Planning and Development Agency to redevelop 6.5 acres of parking lot that Gillette parent Procter & Gamble once owned into an approximately 1.1 million-square-foot mixed-use development. 

That development is due to include “a laboratory/research & development building” running to 400,000 square feet and reaching 123 feet in height, according to the filing. The proposal also calls for a residential building of around 366,000 square feet with a height of 180 feet; and a conventional office building of around 334,000 square feet, also reaching to 180 feet. 

The proposal is notable not only for its scope, its location, and its inclusion of so much potential life sciences space, but because it would also mean the end of another surface parking lot, an example of one of the region’s animating real estate trends in 2020. 

244 A St
Boston, MA 02210

15. 100 Shawmut Avenue

100 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118
A crane with a flag putting a beam into place on a 13-story building. Davis Companies

This 13-story, 138-unit condo building officially topped off in early March. The luxury development in a neighborhood peppered with them is expected to open this fall.

Pre-sales have already started, and a release from lead developer the Davis Companies says that those pre-sales have been met “with strong interest.” (A spokeswoman declined to elaborate.)

The development at Herald Street and Shawmut Avenue is due to include 22 studios, 34 one-bedrooms, 23 one-bedrooms with a den, 27 two-bedrooms, 15 two-bedrooms with a den, 12 three-bedrooms, three three-bedrooms with a den, and two four-bedrooms. Eleven of the units will be penthouses.

Davis broke ground on the project in summer 2019. It had acquired the six-story office property there for $26.2 million four years earlier, touching off speculation about what the developer might build in a South End used to construction cranes and new housing

The 232,000-square-foot 100 Shawmut incorporates the 1920s facade of the office building that was there within a new glass structure. The Architectural Team, based in Chelsea, handled that design, and EMBARC Studio of Boston designed the interiors. Copley Wolff is the landscape architect.

The building’s amenities are due to include a 24-hour concierge, private parking for 112, billiards, a fitness center, a dog-washing station, and a playroom for the kids. A rooftop lounge is expected to include gas grills and fire pits. 

In the end, the years-in-the-making project came about through a partnership between Davis, the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC), and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA).

Davis, as part of advancing 100 Shawmut, is contributing $15 million to a city-controlled escrow account for developing affordable housing at a CCBA-owned site at 50 Herald Street next to 100 Shawmut. That project is expected to hold 313 apartments, 26 percent of which will be designated affordable

The partnership also means an expanded BCEC building at 120 Shawmut Avenue in the same vicinity, which will house ecclesiastical space as well as 84 housing units. Davis has also committed $200,000 to various community programs as part of the partnership, the developer said last summer.

100 Shawmut Ave
Boston, MA 02118

16. Old Edison power plant

776 Summer St, Boston, MA 02127
Rendering of a cavernous food hall filled with shoppers and including a large staircase. Rendering via Stantec

Developers Redgate and Hilco could settle on plans for redeveloping the approximately 15-acre former site of the Edison Power Plan in South Boston. The developers have negotiated and re-negotiated with critics of the redevelopment’s scope, and in November came out with their latest plans.

Those plans call for a 1.78 millions-square-foot, nine-building project that would include 960,000 square feet of office and research/development space as well as up to 636 housing units. There would also be a 240-key hotel and 80,000 square feet of retail, never mind 1,124 parking spaces.

The plans are still evolving—they once called for as many as 1,588 housing units—but 2020 might bring some definitiveness for one of the single biggest projects in Southie in recent memory.

776 Summer St
Boston, MA 02127

17. Exchange South End

591 Albany St, Boston, MA 02118
An aerial view of four new buildings amid an urban landscape that includes highways and a harbor. The Abbey Group

The Abbey Group, a Boston-based developer, demolished the former site of the Boston Flower Exchange in December. The move was in anticipation of transforming the 5.6-acre parcel into a 1.6 million-square-foot, four-building technology and life sciences campus. The Boston Planning and Development Agency approved the project in August. (The flower exchange moved to Chelsea in 2016.)

The new project is also due to include 22,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet of community space as well as a privately owned, publicly accessible one-acre expanse called Albany Green, complete with benches.

In announcing the demolition, the Abbey Group drew a link between the site’s former purpose as “a physical exchange of goods for much of the 20th century” and its future as “an exchange of ideas, technology, and culture for the 21st.”

591 Albany St
Boston, MA 02118

18. 840 Columbus Avenue

840 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02120
Rendering of a tall, boxy residential building. BPDA/Elkus Manfredi

In November, Northeastern University filed plans with the city to construct another privately developed and operated dormitory at 840 Columbus Avenue. It would stretch to 26 floors and include 975 beds. The first five floors of the approximately 525,000-square-foot building would be academic and office space with the remaining 21 floors dedicated to the dorms.

The university developed its first such dorm—with Texas-based American Campus Communities—at 744 Columbus Avenue in the South End. That 20-story, 825-bed dorm opened in September.

Officials, most prominently Mayor Marty Walsh, hailed it as a way to potentially alleviate Boston’s notorious residential real estate crunch by drawing hundreds of students out of the general housing hunt and freeing up that many more apartments. Might the proposed spire at 840 Columbus help do the same? This year might see its approval. 

840 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA 02120

19. Parcel P-3

1200 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02120