Thursday, March 7, 2013

NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Major complex planned for Back Bay

Developer Steve Samuels has won the right to build a towering $360 million hotel, residential and retail complex at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street, adding to rapid redevelopment of the area, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Monday formally selected Samuels and his partner, Weiner Ventures, to build a 400-foot-high complex -- about 32 stories -- that will include a hotel, residences and stores.

The buildings will occupy two air rights parcels over and along the Massachusetts Turnpike in the Back Bay. On one plot known as Parcel 15, Samuels will develop a high-rise hotel and residences, with a separate building to contain stores along Boylston Street

The Samuels team will also build a mid-rise residential building on a nearby parcel of land, as well as another retail complex that will cover the Turnpike along Massachusetts Avenue. Overall, the development will include 230 residences, 270 hotel rooms and 50,000 square feet of retail space.

Samuels, who in recent years has developed much of Boylston Street in the adjacent Fenway neighborhood, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Massachusetts transportation officials have negotiated a tentative lease with Samuels and Weiner Ventures that will give the state more than $18 million in rent and other payments over 99 years, according to the person with knowledge of the deal but who is not authorized to speak publicy about it.

Samuels was selected over several other developers who also bid for the right to to redevelop the property. They included the Chiofaro Co., Trinity Financial and Carpenter & Co., which was recently designated to build a hotel and residential complex on the nearby Christian Science property.

State and city officials have been weighing competing proposals for the property for several
years. The review process started in 2008, but was put on hold during the economic downturn. It resumed in 2011, ending in Monday’s decision to select Samuels.

The parties still finalize the lease deal with the state, and obtain multiple design and permitting approvals. No start date for construction has been announced.

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