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Exhibition hall giving way to more privately owned public space on the Boston waterfront, including a plaza with year-round programming

The nearly 120,000-square-foot Commonwealth Hall exhibition space at the Seaport World Trade Center on the Boston waterfront will disappear under a redevelopment plan for the complex.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency signed off July 11 on a plan from Pembroke, the real estate arm of trade center leaseholder Fidelity Investments, to drastically revamp the complex.

The redevelopment—which is expected to start next year and to wrap entirely in 2024—will include a 25,000-square-foot privately owned public plaza known as Harbor Plaza, with landscaping, seating, and programming year-round, according to a release from Pembroke.

In total, the project is due to produce around 170,445 square feet of “new or enhanced outdoor public space,” Pembroke said. The developer also said the project “will not add substantial density and height,” and will preserve the trade center’s “mercantile waterfront roots.”

The redevelopment also means 45,000 square feet of retail within a new street-front colonnade in the trade center’s head house—a significant increase from the volume of retail space there now—and a new Seaport Hotel ballroom. The amount of office space at the trade center, all of it for Fidelity, is expected to total nearly 640,000 square feet.

Pembroke is planning waterfront-related transportation changes, too, including more berths, expanded ticketing and queuing areas, and new covered waiting spaces. The developer also plans to add dock space for what it calls a future water shuttle stop on Commonwealth Pier.

The revamped Seaport World Trade Center will be but the latest redesign of a prominent portion of Boston waterfront. These include the publicly accessible outdoor space at Pier 4 that opened this summer.

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BPDA signs off on addition to what’s now a project with 446 apartments and a refurbished Huntington Theatre

A major Fenway project that includes a new home for the Huntington Theatre Company is getting two more residential floors.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency on July 11 approved the request from the developer—a group of investors operating as QMG Huntington Limited Partnership—to add the additional floors, which will mean up to 20 more apartments.

The tower component of the redevelopment, at 252-258 Huntington Avenue, is now expected to have 446 apartments total, with sizes ranging from studios to two-bedrooms.

The tower’s height, though, will not change. That is because the developer is reducing the floor-to-ceiling heights within the same 362-foot frame, starting at the third floor. That translates into an increase of 24,710 square feet, for 431,210 square feet total.

The BPDA originally approved the development in December 2017, about a year after QMG bought the Huntington Theatre Company’s building from Boston University for $25 million.

The project includes 7,500 square feet of retail and a refurbished and expanded theater inside and alongside the tower. The company, which will also contribute to the refurbishment, will own its five-story, 70-foot building and get a low-cost, 100-year lease for much of the tower’s lowest two floors.

The recent tweak will not affect the floor-to-ceiling dimensions of the theater portion of the project, which also adds three more residential units designated as affordable in a Boston that sorely needs them.

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Loft includes off-street parking too

What/where: A one-bedroom, one-bathroom loft condo at Cross and Tufts streets in East Somerville

Square footage: 785

The skinny: This capacious unit with a washer-dryer and an off-street parking space is near a future stop on the extended Green Line. What say you re: the price? Take a look around and then take your best guess.

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School hopes to start construction in the spring on 19-story, 305-foot spire in Kenmore Square

The board of the Boston Planning and Development Agency on Thursday approved one of the more interesting development proposals architecture-wise in the city: The 19-story Boston University Data Sciences Center that is due to look like a stack of books.

The university proposed the 305,000-square-foot building at 645-665 Commonwealth Avenue in Kenmore Square in the fall of 2018. It’s set to host BU’s data sciences center, including the school’s mathematics, computer science, and statistics departments.

The building—which Toronto-based KPMB Architects is designing—will also be the tallest on BU’s campus at 305 feet and will replace a surface parking lot. A basement, a four-story podium, 13 floors on top of that, and then a top floor (like the basement) for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing apparatuses will comprise the tower.

“They asked us for something—they used the word ‘iconic,’” Marianne McKenna, a KPMB Architects founding partner, said through the school back in October.

It certainly has the potential. Construction is likely to start in the spring. Stay tuned.

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Asking prices for these recent listings range as low as $499,000

These homes juxtaposed with the history of Charlestown can make people feel like they stepped back in time—while still enjoying all the modern luxuries of waterfront living.

Ranging from $1.65 million to $500,000, these homes are all also close to the water.

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Casino-resort could draw a commuter rail stop as well as office development—or at least that’s the latest speculation

The Encore Boston Harbor casino-resort that opened in June in Everett may bring a commuter-rail and Silver Line station to the city as well as spawn a sweep of office development. Or maybe not.

The 33-acre, 3 million-square-foot complex continues to animate one of the most active parlor games in Boston-area real estate. A recent presentation that Encore Boston Harbor developer Wynn Resorts organized for investors has stoked further speculation, per the Globe’s Jon Chesto.

Probably the biggest what-if now is the possibility of a commuter-rail stop right beside the casino-resort. Neither stops in Everett right now. The proposed station is in purple on the below slide, which was presented to investors.

The same slide shows the extent of Wynn’s holdings in Everett right now—the big red spot is Encore Boston Harbor—and therefore the company’s potential for growth. There is already speculation that that growth could include a further “entertainment district” of hotels and attractions.

Now comes talk of office development on the parcels just across Broadway from the casino-resort. The thinking apparently goes that companies priced out of the Boston market will instead look in Everett for offices.

Right now, there are several variables regarding these plans. One of the biggest is what would become of the MBTA’s bus maintenance facility next to Encore Boston Harbor and beside the theoretical Silver Line-commuter rail stop. That would likely have to change hands for other developments to advance. Stay tuned.

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Few readers guessed the correct asking price here—did you?

Address: 16 Parkton Road, #A

Price: $579,000

The results: Only 24 percent of Curbed Boston readers guessed the correct asking price for this 1,167-square-foot two-bedroom, one-bathroom near Jamaicaway.

The biggest vote-getter by far was $639,000 with 41 percent. Third place went to $688,500 with 22 percent. Thanks for playing.

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Critical Mass. this week includes two big projects in South Boston and a windfall for workforce housing

Welcome to Critical Mass., a weekly roundup of the most notable development news in the Boston area. This week’s roundup includes two big potential projects in Southie and a windfall for workforce housing.

The developers behind the would-be redevelopment of the 15.2-acre former site of the long-shuttered New Boston Generating Station (a.k.a. the South Boston Edison Power Plant) met with the Boston Civic Design Commission.

The meeting included a plethora of maps and renderings of the mixed-use project, which would include hundreds of apartments and condos as well as hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space—and a beer hall.

Rendering via Twitter

Speaking of massive redevelopments in South Boston, an affiliate of Millennium Partners, the same developer behind Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing and the under-construction Winthrop Center in the Financial District, filed plans for what it’s calling an “innovation campus” in the Seaport District.

The proposal calls for demolishing an empty warehouse in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Industrial Park and replacing it with 900,000 square feet of office, research, retail, and restaurant space, along with parking and other supporting uses.

Also this week, the state jolted so-called workforce housing development in the Boston area, courtesy of the windfall from the sale of General Electric’s once-future Fort Point campus. And some dared to ask aloud why private developers do not pony up more for public transit operations.

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It’s a rare black eye for a town that normally scores high on such parkland analyses

Boston has one of the lowest amounts of green space per resident among major U.S. cities, according to a new report from Geotab, a California company specializing in vehicular fleet management.

The company analyzed the amount of green space in different cities, including undeveloped land and land accessible to the public. That latter included parks, community gardens, cemeteries, schoolyards, playgrounds, public seating areas, and public plazas.

It divided this space by the number of residents, and, based on that, declared which major U.S. cities were the “most livable” in terms of green space per resident.

How did Boston fare? Residents get 168 square feet of green space per person, one of the lowest of the cities surveyed. Only New York City (146 square feet) and Miami (166 square feet) fared worse. Atlanta led the pack with 1,023 square feet of green space per resident, followed by Dallas, Portland (Oregon), Washington, and Milwaukee.

The result is a rare black eye for Boston, which generally scores pretty well in analyses of green space available and proximity. A report that the Trust for Public Land released in May found that every Boston resident lived within a 10-minute walk—or roughly a half-mile—of a public park, for instance. The city was only the second to achieve that accessibility milestone in the Trust’s annual survey (San Francisco was the first).

And, as for dog parks, few cities beat Boston when it comes to dog parks.

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Colorful affair once part of even grander Back Bay mansion

The 11-room, 5,930-square-foot Unit 3 at 257 Commonwealth Avenue in Back Bay is on two floors of the old Cochrane Mansion that McKim Mead & White designed (think the Boston Public Library on Copley Square or Symphony Hall, among many other famous creations).

Because of that, the spread includes that 19th-century pile’s old entertaining rooms, which explains some of its sweep.

It’s otherwise a colorful affair, with bright walls and moldings. The unit includes three full baths and the potential for four bedrooms as well as an elliptical staircase and a library and a living room with bay windows. The tag covers two garaged parking spaces too.

How much is that tag? Given the location and the size, it’s predictably steep: $10.5 million through Marsh Properties.

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