Forest City refiles petition for Millennium building, promising 188 affordable units

Forest City Enterprises said today it is refiling a petition to build an office and laboratory building at 300 Massachusetts Ave. near Central Square, again for use by the pharmaceutical manufacturer Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

The building would have 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 230,000 square feet overhead for use by Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Millennium has about 1,200 employees in Massachusetts and occupies space in six other buildings within University Park — a total of 500,000 square feet. A previous filing said the building would peak at 95 feet. Current zoning allows 80 feet.

Technically, the refiling would extend “Cambridgeport Revitalization Development District” zoning won for its University Park in 1988. A presentation was made Tuesday to the Planning Board.

What ended Forest City’s bid in August was anger over housing issues. A residential tower with a ground-floor restaurant would have taken away much of a park and was removed from the plan; then residents later became upset when they learned 150 units of affordable housing in University Park were soon reverting to market-rate rents. The company offered a deal to keep them as affordable, but ultimately city councillors chose to let the zoning request expire — but leaving the path clear for a refiling.

Forest City says it has filed a “letter of commitment” along with its zoning petition that again promises the preservation of 168 affordable apartments in University Park as well as the creation of 20 more units of affordable housing.

“With housing being the biggest concern … we thought it was important to do our part to help,” Forest City Boston President Frank Wuest said. The developer also repeated a pledged of more than $1 million in “community benefits” payments to the city.

This post will be updated.

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