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Developer plans to replace old Simmons dorms with residential units, office space, stores and, of course, life-sciences labs

Skanska USA told the BPDA today it will soon file plans for a six-acre mixed use development along Brookline Avenue to replace the dorms that Simmons University is planning to move into a new 18-story tower on its main campus a few blocks away.

In a letter of intent, Skanska says it's planning 1.75 million square feet of development on the land - with 2.3 acres set aside for new public open space - with a goal to "reinvigorate a long dormant gated off stretch of Brookline Avenue."

305 Brookline Ave. filings and calendar.


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How many thousands of rush hour car trips do they plan to add to the Longwood Medical Area?

Voting closed 26

City code will allow them to put 800-1300 parking spaces (0.5-0.75 parking ratio depending on location and use). Current developments along Brookline Ave and other areas of the Fenway are already adding thousands of spots. Something has got to give!

Voting closed 7

I went to Simmons and think this entire decision is a tragedy. Yes, the Science Center needs to be redone and yes, the dorms are older, but the Residence Campus is beautiful. Most of my time and best memories come from how tranquil the quad is.

Voting closed 34

Emmanuel College (next to Simmons) was nearing insolvency until they leased a big part of their pretty campus for a large office building. They seemed to use the money well and they've risen considerably in the rankings.

Presumably Simmons thinks the cash infusion is going to be more useful than their somewhat leafy campus.

Voting closed 19

They had enough money to buy a sports field. They are going to lose money invested in the sports center which is not that old. I think the plan to expand the science center is fine but a high rise dorm... if a student wanted that experience BU is nearby.

Expect alumnae donations to dwindle.

Voting closed 13

Magoo has heard that Skanska is Swedish which reminds Magoo of the Muppets Swedish chef which Magoo thinks is mondo LOLs. Magoo.

Voting closed 12

Yep I'm gonna rag on this until the end of times.

But MORE Lab Space?!? You know the same Lab Space that developers have been quoted saying they don't even have prospecting tenants for. You know that Lab Space that sits empty while we wait for tenants while we have a housing crunch in our area.


Voting closed 5

It's not my industry but I keep hearing there really is demand for modern lab space. Is there lots of square footage that's remaining vacant?

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according to CBRE's Q3 Life Sciences Market report (covering Boston, Cambridge and suburbs) the area lab vacancy rate is at an all time low of 1.6%. Boston and Cambridge together have a life sciences lab vacancy rate of 0.2%.

Rents for labs are also on the rise, since there's a shortage of vacancies. East Cambridge lab rents are up 23.9 % in 24 months. Seaport is up 23.4 % in 12 months. Average rents in the 128 West submarket are up 34.5 % in 24 months.

Maybe the supply will eventually catch up to demand, but that sure isn' t where we are now.

Voting closed 21

@Cybah - I share your reaction to most announcements of new lab space, but this is a location where it actually makes sense. The Longwood Medical Area actually needs more lab space. The Harvard Med School/Public Health campus has no room to expand at the same time as the buildings (especially HMS) are aging and grant funding for lab work is booming. Having more lab space nearby for their own work and cooperative ventures should be very useful.

Voting closed 23

on its main campus a few blocks away.

Maybe my Simmons knowledge is lacking, but isn't that new highrise literally across the street from these buildings that are going to knock down?

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Existing dorms are on west side of Brookline Avenue.
Existing academic campus is on east side of Avenue Louis Pasteur.
Pretty much everything between Brookline Avenue & Avenue Louis Pasteur, fronting the Fenway, and north of Beth Israel east campus and Blackfan Circle is Emmanuel College.

Voting closed 8