BPDA OKs massive mixed-use project on Mystic’s banks in Charlestown

BPDA OKs massive mixed-use project on Mystic’s banks in Charlestown

By Greg Ryan

The board of the Boston Planning and Development Agency approved a six-building development on the Mystic River in Charlestown on Thursday, as well as two large Sullivan Square lab buildings.

The two are the latest projects to get the green light in a neighborhood set up for big changes.

The Flatley Co. won approval for 1.8 million square feet of mixed-use development on Medford Street, including three office-and-lab buildings and at least 500 residential units. The project would open up the Mystic’s banks to the public through a new five-acre park, as well as create a nearly half-mile-long barrier meant to prevent flooding.

The Fallon Co. and a partner, The Owens Co., similarly got the go-ahead on their plan to build more than 800,000 square feet of lab and office space across two buildings at 66 Cambridge St., on land that has been home to parking lots and rail infrastructure.

The two approvals come shortly after the BPDA adopted a planning initiative for Charlestown intended to create more housing in the neighborhood. Those changes, which drew significant pushback from a group of residents and elected officials, were approved in September.

That same month, the board OK’d Fulcrum Global Investors’ proposed 503-unit apartment building, One Mystic, and Rise Development’s two residential buildings and nine-story lab-and-office building in Sullivan Square. Trinity Financial got the greenlight in November for nearly proposed 700 residential units on parking lots across from Bunker Hill Community College

Flatley’s mixed-use development is set to go across 25 acres on the former Domino Sugar refinery site, land owned by the Braintree-based real estate firm. Flatley also owns the nearby Schraft Center, known for its clock tower rising above the busy rotary off the I-93 exit.

The project could include just under 1 million square feet of lab and office space over three buildings and more than 500,000 square feet of apartments and condos across two buildings. The sixth building is set to be a 210-room hotel, although it’s possible that could instead be made into residential space. 

Mixed in will be retail, daycare, community and more green space. Flatley CEO John Roche told the board that the developer is “more than open” to including a grocery store, something that local residents have sought amid the recent planning and development reviews.

The approval on Thursday was for what is known as a planned development area. Flatley will have to return to the board for review of each of the individual buildings. As of now, construction is expected to begin in 2026 and take 10 to 15 years.

The proposed buildings are to be no more than 160 feet tall at their highest floor, in line with the new Charlestown planning guidelines, according to the BPDA. Flatley had earlier proposed a maximum height of 230 feet. The project received little pushback at the meeting Thursday, though one Charlestown resident criticized the height of the buildings in comparison to the surrounding neighborhood and faulted Flatley for what he described as the poor condition of the property historically.

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