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Southie power plant developers get design OK

Posted by Ryan Ferguson on January 8, 2021
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The developers aiming to transform the decommissioned South Boston Edison power plant into a mixed-use hub will seek city approval this month following a key sign-off from a Boston architectural board.

The Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC) on Tuesday evening approved the master plan of the proposed eight-building development at 776 Summer St. The 1.68 million-square-foot project would include the restoration of four turbine halls — one of which dates to 1898 — and create nearly 6 acres of open space on what’s now a contaminated, fenced-off property.

The BCDC approval is a significant step for a project that has been in development review for much of the past four years, and one which the development team initially hoped would break ground in 2018.

The developers aiming to transform the decommissioned South Boston Edison power plant into a mixed-use hub will seek city approval this month following a key sign-off from a Boston architectural board.

The Boston Civic Design Commission (BCDC) on Tuesday evening approved the master plan of the proposed eight-building development at 776 Summer St. The 1.68 million-square-foot project would include the restoration of four turbine halls — one of which dates to 1898 — and create nearly 6 acres of open space on what’s now a contaminated, fenced-off property.

The BCDC approval is a significant step for a project that has been in development review for much of the past four years, and one which the development team initially hoped would break ground in 2018.

Redgate and Hilco Redevelopment Partners agreed to acquire the 15-acre site in 2016, and later pitched a 2.1 million-square-foot project with 1,588 housing units. Following outcry from the South Boston community, which argued an influx of new housing units would overwhelm the primarily residential City Point section of South Boston, the developers cut the proposed number housing units by half.

The final development proposal includes 636 housing units; 860,000 square feet of office/R&D space; 231 hotel rooms and 83,700 square feet of retail. Architecture firms Stantec and Stoss created the master plan, and each building will need to go through its own separate architecture and design review.

Hilco and Redgate will aim for Boston Planning and Development Agency board approval later this month. The developers also need myriad state approvals for waterfront development, deconstruction permitting and an amendment of a deed restriction forbidding residential development on the site.