Tower work to start in 2013

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH) plan to start construction on two huge towers at the former site of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in 2013, BWH and RTH officials indicated this week.

In January 2010, the development team—which also includes Mass Mental—got Boston Redevelopment Authority approval to level and replace Mass Mental’s five-building complex at the intersection of Fenwood Road, Vining Street and the Riverway.

Part of the project, two peripheral buildings housing Mass Mental’s programs, was recently completed. According to an article in BWH’s internal newsletter, BWH Bulletin, the approved plan also calls for BWH to build a 358,000-square-foot research and clinical building with an underground garage on the site.  RTH plans to build a 15-story building with affordable rental and condominium units as well as market-rate condo units.

The Gazette was referred to the BWH Bulletin article when it contacted BWH officials requesting comment for this article. BWH declined to comment further.  The article said that BWH hopes to begin work on the building by 2013 and that it will be named “The Brigham Building for the Future.”

Under an agreement with the state, the BWH tower must be completed within 10 years of the construction of the new Mass Mental buildings

Roxbury Tenants of Harvard head Girma Belay told the Gazette that plans for the RTH tower recently received a required approval from the Boston Civic Design Commission.

He was not able to immediately furnish the Gazette with a copy of the approved plans, but said the tower will likely include 66 affordable rental units, 47 affordable condominium units and 45 market-rate condo units.

Belay said groundbreaking on the RTH project will be dependent on if and when city and state affordable housing fund applications are approved, but that developers hope to start the project in 2013 and finish it by 2015. RTH operates the Mission Park housing development next door to the site.

The tower plans have been controversial because of the shadows the new buildings could cast on the surrounding neighborhood and the increase in traffic they are likely to bring. In the meantime, the site is being used as a parking lot.


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