Project aims to add 710 housing units to Boston’s South End

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BOSTON – Plans are firming up for a new residential development in the South End that promises to add 710 units to Boston’s housing stock, according to the companies behind the project.

Called the Harrison Albany project for the two main thoroughfares that border the property, the plan calls for two new buildings of up to 19 stories in height, plus the renovation of an existing structure at 575 Albany Street, according to a statement from developer Leggat McCall Properties. It will include an unspecified number of “affordable” units, the developer said.

The plan for the 3.1-acre site will add 14,000 square feet of retail space and 40,000 square feet of office space. Existing surface parking lots will be replaced with an underground garage, according to Legat. The company said it is working with Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), a $7 billion real estate equity fund, and Bozzuto Development on the project.

Leggat filed more details on the plan with the Boston Redevelopment Authority Monday. The city agency has described the area as targeted for maintaining the light industrial uses mainly found there today. It designated the block, between East Dedham and East Canton Streets as part of the small Back Streets district in the neighborhood.

The district is bounded by Malden Street to the north, Harrison to the west, East Canton Street to the south and the Southeast Expressway on the east. Mayor Marty Walsh’s economic initiative to preserve industrial land included the district, to support small and medium sized industrial and commercial businesses.

Albany Street is home to two wholesale flower markets that occupy single-story buildings on large lots. According to the development agency’s Harrison Albany Corridor Strategic Plan, residential uses would be an exception and not always compatible with commercial activities, such as truck use and loading. But that didn’t damp the developers’ enthusiasm Monday.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to take an underutilized site and create additional housing, public open space, and a bustling street life,” Bill Gause, Leggat’s executive vice president, said in the statement. “We are committed to integrating the project with the vibrant fabric of the neighborhood, including the introduction of ground-floor cultural space.”

The Back Streets district abuts the South of Washington Street sub-area that extends south from East Berkeley Street along Harrison and includes a number of galleries and former industrial buildings converted to artists’ lofts and living spaces.

“We are pleased to be a part of the transformation of the South End, and to further invest in the city of Boston,” said David Antonelli, an executive vice president at Bentall Kennedy, which advises the realty investment firm, in the statement. “Thoughtful, contemporary development will assist in the South End’s ability to continue to attract employers in the creative, health, and educational sectors, and this project will provide a variety of options for future and existing neighborhood residents.”

 The developers of the Harrison Albany project initially informed the city agency of its plans in November, after acquiring the property in late 2014 from the Boston Medical Center nearby. The property includes buildings at 660 and 720 Harrison, 100 East Canton, and 123 East Dedham.

In that initial notice, the developers suggested that as many as 140 units would be set aside as affordable to low- and middle-income residents, according to a report in the Boston Globe. Monday’s statement didn’t provide a similar number. At the nearby Troy luxury apartments, up Harrison toward the Chinatown area, rents run from $1,400 to $2,760 a month, according to real estate website