Friday, June 21, 2024

A rendering of the planned 441 Morgan Ave. project in North Point. (Image: DivcoWest)

A construction permit for a $155.2 million, 12-story life-science building at 441 Morgan Ave., North Point, was issued May 18 as part of a larger DivcoWest project known as “Parcel U.” It was reported May 28 by the Bldup platform.

The San Francisco real estate and investment firm bought the 17-parcel North Point for $291 million in 2015. Since then, several large pharmaceutical, therapeutic and research companies have leased buildings in its Cambridge Crossing subsection, including Bristol Myers Squibb, Sanofi, Cerevel Therapeutics and Philips North America. There are 600,000 square feet remaining up for lease, including at the neighboring 121 Morgan Ave.

The design of the Parcel U project is partially tailored to appeal to a younger demographic, DivcoWest said in a digital brochure, with a heavy focus on interactive, eco-friendly development alongside 11 acres of open space with plenty of greenery, benches, picnic tables and walking areas (including 10-foot-wide sidewalks). Design plans submitted in August for the 313,000-square-foot life-science building emphasize construction that incorporates recycled materials, rooftop terraces with vegetation and a rain-catching irrigation system, and access to natural lighting for 75 percent of its interior space.

The project could have up to 1,168 parking spaces but plans three levels of underground parking that will hold just 282 – well below the 30 percent reduction needed to get its expected LEED gold environmental certification. The company said it expects occupants to rely on public transportation such as the Lechmere green line T stop, which is being relocated into North Point from the other side of Monsignor O’Brien Highway. Additionally, around 2 percent of the parking will be reserved for electric cars and charging stations.

The underground parking lot is meant to reduce the so-called heat-island effect, in which asphalt absorbs heat and causes surrounding temperatures to rise. DivcoWest said it hopes the 441 Morgan Ave. building will serve as a model and case study example that proves that urban commercial development does not require sacrificing environmental sustainability.

Completion is expected in spring 2023, the commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark Knight Frank said.

In other development news:

  • The Sunoco station at 266 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridgeport, has been bought by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology affiliate for $5 million, Bldup reported Thursday.
  • There’s also an updated design for an MIT graduate student dorm at 269-301 Vassar St., Area II. While the first renderings said “brown,” the update shows a “brightening of the overall coloration, increased façade articulation, variation and transparency, along with metal cladding to be used on the towers,” Bldup said May 31. There are also friendlier refinements to landscape and streetscape that could add “programming potential for all publicly accessible exterior spaces” to the project across from the school’s Briggs Field. It will replace a surface parking lot and the campus’ current police station.
  • Exterior work is almost complete on MIT’s 25-story residential building at 165 Main St., Kendall Square, Bldup said May 27. Part of the “Kendall Square Initiative,” the 275-foot structure holds 300 residential units – 52 of them affordable, and 10 middle-income – starting on the fifth floor above a deck of amenities and a lobby, 8,000 square feet of retail and two levels of parking with 150 spaces.
  • The mixed-use building planned to activate the site of two long-closed Wellington-Harrington businesses – the University Monument gravestone seller and a warehouse of Automatic Cone – has been sold for $4.2 million to Boston’s TCR Development, Bldup reported Thursday. The company has an $11.9 million construction mortgage for 1043-1059 Cambridge St., which was approved by the city for four stories with 18 residential units (four studios, two one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units and nine two-bedroom duplex units) and 4,564 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
  • BioMed Realty, a major life-science and tech real estate owner in Kendall Square that’s pushing into Somerville, has filed plans for its “Block 21” project there, Bldup said June 8. The plans call for 391,200 square feet of life-science space and 2,000 of ground-level retail in the so-called Xmbly development – where Somerville is getting 1.2 million square feet total of office, lab and research and development space over three buildings, including around 80,000 of innovation space, nearly 25,000 square feet of retail and parking for 1,900 vehicles.
  • The 17,777-square-foot commercial building at 619 Cambridge St. – next to East Cambridge’s Mayflower Poultry Co. (of “Live Poultry Fresh Killed” fame) – was bought for $5 million by RPI Cambridge Street, a subsidiary of Boston’s Riverside Properties Inc., Bldup said May 13.
  • The final steel beam was placed May 13 on the Cambria hotel project set to be completed by 2022 at 515 Somerville Ave., in Somerville’s Spring Hill neighborhood, Bldup said. The completed six-story building centered between Harvard, Porter and Union squares will have 164 guest bedrooms. It’s a collaboration by Boston-based The Noannet Group, architecture and design firm CambridgeSeven and contractor Consigli.