Big changes proposed for the Fenway neighborhood

Staff
WCVB-TV
The Red Sox propose to add or remake structures on more than 5.3 acres of land on some of the neighborhood's most recognizable blocks: Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Landsdowne Street and Van Ness Street.

Plans submitted last week by the Red Sox and their business partners propose a dramatic transformation to the streets, buildings and character of the neighborhood around Boston's historic Fenway Park.

The coalition, which is led by the team's parent company, submitted more than 1,050 pages of letters, pictures and descriptions to the city. The documents detail a "transformative" proposal to add or remake structures on more than 5.3 acres of land on some of the neighborhood's most recognizable blocks: Brookline Avenue, Jersey Street, Landsdowne Street and Van Ness Street.

But the plans also go beyond buildings. They also propose to replace some of the streets and sidewalks that are an iconic part of the gameday or nightlife experience.

If approved, the Red Sox’ plan for the Fenway neighborhood would add more retail and residential units to the area.

"It will consist of approximately 2.1 million-square-feet of Gross Floor Area of building area for office/research, residential, and retail uses, and will involve the reconstruction and improvement of approximately 3.31 acres of other public roadways, sidewalks, and other areas of public ownership as part of the Project’s overall commitment to making extraordinary public realm improvements in the Fenway neighborhood," the authors wrote.

In addition to Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, the development group behind the proposal involves the D'Angelo family, owners of the '47 brand, and WS Development.

While the 109-year-old ballpark factors prominently into their plans, the group notes that they do not aim to create a "sports theme park" in Boston.

While the 109-year-old ballpark factors prominently into their plans, the group notes that they do not aim to create a "sports theme park" in Boston.

"Many ballparks around the country are surrounded by sports-focused developments, which is the opposite of what the Proponent envisions here in the Fenway neighborhood," they wrote. "The Project should feel like the neighborhood is enveloping the ballpark, and not that the ballpark is spreading its influence into the neighborhood."

Stated goals for the project include creating approximately 215 new homes, expanding the D'Angelo family's business and making space for new retail businesses. They estimate creating 5,000 construction jobs during the life of the project and 10,000 full-time jobs once the work is complete.

"These new jobs and the daytime population they represent will benefit the Fenway neighborhood in many ways, but especially through the support of local businesses and will benefit the broader regional economy through increased sales and income tax revenue," the authors wrote.

If approved by the city, the group hopes to begin work on the project in 2022 and complete the work over the following five to seven years.

Their plans also indicate that the scope of the project could grow in the future to space above part of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Another proposal

Just a day after a group led by the owners of the Boston Red Sox proposed a massive plan to reshape the neighborhood around Boston's Fenway Park, another developer moved forward with a proposal that would further reshape the neighborhood.

The proposal for 819 Beacon St., which started moving through the city's approval process in November 2019, seeks to replace a large parking lot that's within walking distance of the ballpark with a 280,900-square-foot building. If approved, the structure would create some retail space, 397 apartments for rent and 53 apartments set aside in partnership with Boston Children's Hospital for the families of patients.

The proposal for 819 Beacon St., which started moving through the city's approval process in November 2019, seeks to replace a large parking lot that's within walking distance of the ballpark with a 280,900-square-foot building.

They also said 200 parking spaces would be moved to an underground garage and just eight of the current above-ground spots would remain.

This week, developer Scape Beacon, LLC, submitted a draft of a report about the expected impacts of their project.

According to that report, the additional housing will be in demand "due to the impending wave of commercial development."

That appears to refer to the Red Sox owners' proposal, which includes some property just a few dozen yards away.

Work on the 819 Beacon St. project is expected to begin in early 2022, if approved, and last for about 30 months.