This story ran on page F1 of the Boston Globe on 2/15/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

BRA approves project for waterfront area
By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff

The Boston Redevelopment Authority board yesterday unanimously approved construction of a hotel and apartment complex on three blocks at Northern Avenue and D Street in South Boston.

A 440-room hotel, 460 residential apartments, retail shops, and a restaurant - if and when financed in a difficult economic climate - will replace open lots and one- and two-story buildings across from Jimmy's Harborside restaurant.

Developer Joe Fallon, managing partner of South Boston Waterfront Development LLC, said he hoped to break ground by the first of next year. He is in negotiations with a hotel chain but would not say which one.

Susan Hannon, deputy director for project management of the BRA, said an announcement should come soon. ''We are confident the approvals received today are the last approvals he needs from us in order to secure his financing,'' she said.

''The hotel flag is waiting for today's approval before they're willing to ink the document,'' she said.

Hannon said she was happy with the board's vote following an approval process that lasted about two years and represents progress in a sluggish economy.

When complete, the hotel and residences are expected to employ about 500 people, putting 800 construction workers to work in the meantime.

City officials said the Fallon plan, covering about 3.4 acres and yielding about 837,000 square feet of building space at completion, helps fill in one of Boston's fastest growing areas.

''This project reflects the vision we have long hoped to see for Boston's Waterfront,'' BRA director Mark Maloney said in a statement. ''The mixed-use development will bring life to the streets, and homes to our tight real estate market.''

James Rooney, project director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, said the new hotel would provide ''room space desperately needed'' for the new facility being constructed nearby.

A new hotel associated with the convention center has been delayed at least a year, though Rooney said the $800 million facility itself is on track to open for business in October 2004.

South Boston Waterfront Development's three new buildings will occupy three parcels of land owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority, under a long-term lease. A hotel and two residences will be bounded by a realigned D Street, Northern Avenue, and New Congress Street.

Market Street and New Fish Pier Road will separate the buildings, adjacent to a new park to be built by the port authority.

Port officials specified that the residential units be apartments, not condominiums, because some residents could find it difficult to live in an area where continued maritime industrial activities are planned. Condominium owners would not have the flexibility to move that apartment dwellers would, they said.

One underground garage for 520 cars will serve the hotel and two residential buildings.

Under City of Boston regulations, the new development will provide $1.3 million in linkage funds to add affordable housing in the city. Fifteen units of affordable housing will be on the development site, 30 elsewhere in Boston.

When completed, the development is expected to generate $1.5 million in property taxes and $2.8 million in hotel taxes annually.

In a separate action yesterday, the BRA board granted tentative approval to Windale Developers Inc. for 49 residential housing units on three parcels near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Washington Street in Roxbury.

Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner urged the board to reject the proposal because it includes only 28 affordable units.

Thomas C. Palmer Jr. can be reached by e-mail at palmer@globe.com.

This story ran on page F1 of the Boston Globe on 2/15/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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