From new developments to challenges to real estate laws, here are a few tidbits of real estate news taking place in and around Boston.
Harvard Square Theatre to Become Mixed-Use Building with Movie Screens
Purchased by Chan’s Morningside Group in 2015, the Harvard Square Theatre may finally be undergoing some changes. Just a few months ago, the investment group was in danger of losing the property to eminent domain as the city grew tired of waiting for it to decide if it was going to redevelop, raze or otherwise use the 32,080-square-foot site in one way or another. Now, it appears as though the investment group will be tearing down the existing structure to create a 60,000-square-foot mixed-use building. Current plans call for the building to have two movie screens, five stories of office space and street-level retail space. The plans are in the early stages of planning, however, and still need to be approved by a number of organizations, including the Cambridge Historical Commission.
Conversion Law in Somerville May Come to End
Somerville currently has a law in place that regulates the conversion of two- and three-family homes, but proposed changes to this law have some tenant activists concerned that a repeal of the ordinance will make it more difficult for tenants to find apartments in Somerville. Owners of the smaller homes affected by the ordinance, however, maintain that the current ordinance is outdated, unnecessary and time-consuming. Under the current law, a Somerville board can review even the smallest condo conversion and owners are required to notify the board and their tenants about any conversion one year in advance.
Currently, two- and three-family homes comprise about 70 percent of the residential properties in Somerville. Many owners are choosing to convert their units so they can live in one and sell the others. Advocates for maintaining the current law state that keeping the law in place will help to slow down the rate of condo conversions, which they believe are already taking place at an alarmingly fast pace. The legal challenge against this law could allow owners to complete these conversions even more quickly if the ordinance is changed.
South Boston’s Biggest Development May Soon Become a Reality
Developers Hilco Global and Redgate announced plans some time ago to build on the 15.2-acre South Boston waterfront that once served as the site for the New Boston Generating Station. More recently, the developers have released more details plans for the 2.1-square-foot development, which will include seven new buildings with three that will be at least 200 feet high each. The project also includes the development of 1,588 apartments and condos along with 339,000 square feet of office space, a 150-room hotel and 68,000 square feet of retail space. The project will also include 987 underground parking spaces, a 1.15-acre plaza along Reserved Channel and 987 underground parking spaces. Space will also be designated for “arts and industry” uses.
There are still some hurdles that must be overcome before Hilco and Redgate can move forward with this project. Nonetheless, the developers expect to start construction next year and plan to continue with development through until 2030.