Image courtesy of BPDA

An office building across from Boston’s South Station will become life science research space after a developer confirmed no high-risk infectious disease research will be conducted.

Oxford Properties Group is converting the 11-story 745 Atlantic Ave. property across from South Station into a 155,000 square feet of office, lab and R&D space.

Kathryn Friedman, a member of the impact advisory group for the project, recommended the Boston Planning & Development Agency board approve the project after Oxford agreed not to seek any biosafety level 3 research, which involves serious diseases that can be spread through inhalation.

Oxford executive Chris Whittier told the board the building’s current physical layout doesn’t permit Biosafety Level 3 or 4 activities, which include advanced containment and ventilation.

“As a retrofit of a building, we simply cannot design this building to any heavier use than BSL-2,” Whittier said.

After WeWork defaulted on its lease for 75 percent of the building, Oxford decided to pursue life science tenants to fill the gaps. Developers recently took a group of Leather District and Chinatown neighborhood residents on a tour of their 645 Summer St. office-lab complex in the Seaport District to familiarize them with the nature of life science facilities.

Developers will donate $50,000 to the MassBio Education program for STEM-related educational resources and increase the building’s ground-floor retail space from 1,800 to 5,900 square feet.

The BPDA is studying changes to its reviews and design guidelines for lab facilities, as developers push forward with dozens of new lab buildings and office-lab conversions from the Seaport to Allston-Brighton.

At its monthly meeting Thursday, the BPDA board also approved a pair of housing projects creating 45 residential units.

In Brighton, a new five-story building at 38 Hichborn St. near the MBTA’s Boston Landing commuter rail station will create 24 residential units in a Net Zero carbon-designed building. Developer Matthew Pennino still needs to obtain zoning board of appeal waivers for open space per dwelling, parking and losing requirements and dimensional requirements.

A former South Boston nursing home at 804 East Seventh St. will be renovated into 21 condos, including three income-restricted units. The $12-million project is led by developers Chris Anderson and Stephen Niosi and designed by architect Embarc. The project requires ZBA approval for off-street parking and loading, lot area and open space.

155K SF Lab Conversion Approved for Atlantic Ave. Offices

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min