Beacon News

Industry News: Construction Booming in Boston Area

If you have visited the greater Boston area in the past two years, you most likely noticed one or more major construction projects underway or at least spotted some giant cranes looming in the distance. The city currently has many large construction projects underway, including major projects in the commercial, residential, educational, R&D, and public housing areas. The city's diverse economy is driving the need for new commercial space, particularly in the areas of biotech/life sciences, consulting, and technology. As a well-established center for higher education and a leading destination for young professionals seeking career opportunities in growing industries, the demand for residential space has also been growing fast.

Below are quick summaries for several interesting, high-profile construction projects currently underway in the Boston area. Scroll to the bottom of this article to see photos and architectural renderings related to these projects.

Allston Yards — This multi-phase, mixed-used development project is creating a new neighborhood by transforming a 10.5 acre site (previously occupied by an older shopping plaza and large surface parking lots). The developer has promoted the project as a walkable community which will be well connected to downtown Boston (and the suburbs) by public transit. The project reportedly includes 420,000 SF of Office/Lab Space, 117,000 SF of Retail Space, 868 residential units and a 1 acre Community Green. The 1.2-Million-SF project is a partnership of New England Development, Stop & Shop, The Bozzuto Group and Southside Investment Partners. Allston Yards is well located just a few miles from downtown Boston (2 train stops) at the nexus of the neighborhoods of Allston, Brighton, and the new Boston Landing district. More info:

Boston University Center for Computing & Data Sciences - If you have walked past the Boston University campus in recent months, you can't miss this unique 19-story, 350,000-square-foot structure. Unlike most tradition buildings, the structure is made up of a series of floor-plates that are shifted and cantilevered around a central structural core. Although it may look like a giant game of "Jenga," this unique $305-million building will be extremely efficient, designed to achieve LEED Platinum Certification and will reportedly be the largest fossil-fuel-free building in Boston.

A prominent and highly efficient feature of the building is its use of geothermal heating and cooling. To achieve the necessary 300 tons of heating and cooling capacity, 31 bores (or "wells") were drilled to a depth of 1,500 feet deep, which will harness the thermal capacity of the earth for heating and cooling, eliminating the need for a fossil-fuel-based heating system (and less efficient conventional air conditioning systems). The project is scheduled for completion in 2023. More info:

Suffolk Downs Redevelopment – An underutilized 161-acre site on the border of East Boston and Revere, MA, will be transformed into a large new neighborhood and mixed-use community. Formerly the home of the Suffolk Downs horse racing track, the site is now home to one of the largest real estate development projects in the history of Massachusetts. When completed, the project will include 10,000 apartments and condominiums, 5.2 million square feet of life science and commercial office space, 450,000 square feet of retail and civic space, and 40 acres of parks and open space. Ground-breaking on the first phase of the project occurred earlier this year. The project's developers expect that some of the residential space with be ready for occupancy in 2024, with the full project taking eight years to complete. According to the developer, the Suffolk Downs redevelopment is expected to create 22,000 new jobs through laboratory, manufacturing, and retail space, as well as more than 18,000 construction jobs. The project is a joint venture of HYM Investment Group, Cathexis and National Real Estate Advisors. More info:

Winthrop Center (Financial District) – When completed, the Winthrop Center skyscraper will be just under 700 feet tall and Boston’s fourth tallest building. Currently under construction downtown Boston, the 54-story, $1.2 billion building will include office, retail, and residential space. According to the architect for the project (Handel Architects), the new tower will be one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings in the U.S., designed to achieve LEED Platinum Certification. The project is expected to be completed in 2023. The developer is Millennium Partners (MP) Boston. More info:

*Click on the images below to see larger photos related to these notable Boston area projects.