Boston’s Fenway Center development is finally breaking ground

Developer John Rosenthal's project has been 15 years in the making and still isn't fully financed

(Credit back to front: Yunner/Wikimedia Commons; National Photo Company - Library of Congress; Twitter)
(Credit back to front: Yunner/Wikimedia Commons; National Photo Company - Library of Congress; Twitter)

Massachusetts-based developer John Rosenthal’s new $240 million project is getting underway after 15 years of attempted starts. Known as Fenway Center, Rosenthal’s mixed-use development will start with the construction of two resi buildings beside Fenway Park, which are due to break ground by the end of the year.

With a combined area of more than 1 million square feet, the overall project will eventually include over 300 condo units and 37,000 square feet of retail space, according to the Architect’s Newspaper.

The Architectural Team is designing the buildings along with amenities like pedestrian walkways and parks. Their design includes plans for what would be the state’s largest private solar power plant and the Boston area’s first net-zero train station.

Fenway Center has been a long time in the making: after years of trying to get the development off the ground and running into trouble leasing the land from the state and securing financing, Rosenthal got the project back on track by proposing two phases; he’s building the condos first and betting that the new foot traffic will attract investors to fund phase two, which will include office space and Rosenthal’s long-troubled plan to build a deck over the Massachusetts Turnpike.

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The decking over the turnpike has reportedly been a key reason the project suffered 15 years of delays, and in the developer’s latest plans the deck will be used as garages.

“We’re going to create a neighborhood here where today there are parking lots and windswept bridges,” said Rosenthal to The Boston Globe. “That will attract the debt and equity for Phase 2.”

Phase one is expected to be done by 2020 and the lease for phase two must be in place by then as well.

[Architect’s Newspaper] — Erin Hudson