Photo by Steve Adams | Banker & Tradesman Staff

Developments in a Fenway commercial corridor will qualify for taller building heights under zoning changes approved by Boston Planning & Development Agency directors.

The BPDA board approved the zoning amendment along with four development projects at its monthly meeting Thursday.

The new zoning in the West Fenway expands areas that are eligible for planned development area approvals, which provide additional flexibility and height for larger projects.

The changes include an increase in building heights for PDA-eligible projects from 150 to 300 feet in the Brookline Avenue community commercial district, and from 150 to 250 feet in the Fenway Triangle neighborhood development area surrounding Fenway Park.

More than 7 million square feet of development has been approved since the existing zoning was implemented.

“Put simply, development proceeding today does so in an environment that is almost unrecognizable from that which informed the initial crafting of zoning in the Fenway,” said Christina Ricco, the BPDA’s senior neighborhood planner in the Fenway.

Outgoing District 8 City Councilor Kenzie Bok spoke in favor of a $5 per square foot fee for commercial developments to pay for transportation upgrades in the Fenway, reflecting the neighborhood’s rapid population growth in recent years.

Since 2004, the BPDA has approved nearly 4.3 million square feet of residential projects in the Fenway, and a team led by WS Development is seeking approval for a 2 million-square-foot mixed-use development on 13 parcels surrounding Fenway Park.

The zoning changes require final approval by the Boston Zoning Commission.

The board approved four development projects totaling 165,000 square feet, including 47 housing units.

In Dorchester, developer Arx Urban plans a 47-unit mixed-income project in a 6-story building at 247 Hancock St.

Developers RISE Together and City Realty received approval for a 6-story, 72-room hotel at 330 C St. in South Boston, replacing an auto repair business.

Boston College High School received approval for an addition to its sports complex for a swimming pool and new locker rooms, weight training and wrestling areas.

And in South End, nonprofit Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion will convert a vacant lot into a 4-story,  26,425-square-foot community center known as The CASA at 85 West Newton St. Designed by Studio Enee and Annum, the building will host events and programming, increasing IBA’s program space by nearly two-thirds.

BPDA directors also approved the destination of a development team for a publicly-owned parcel in Dorchester, while restarting the disposition process for a Chinatown lot.

Directors designated a partnership of developers Civico and DREAM Collaborative for a publicly-owned parcel at 555-559 Columbia Road in Dorchester, including affordable condominiums, artist space and a public library branch.

Parcel P-12C in Chinatown will again be offered to developers that prioritize affordable housing and ground-floor activation in their proposals. Asian Community Development Corp. had previously planned to build 168 condominiums and apartments in a combined housing and hotel tower on the site, in a project that was canceled after financing delays related to contributions from the Winthrop Center development.

Another five parcels at 21-29 Fernboro St. in Dorchester will be offered to developers, with an emphasis on affordable housing, through a request for proposals that will be issued this spring.

Editor’s note: This report has been updated to correct the square-footage of residential development approved in the Fenway since 2004.

BPDA Backs Increase in Fenway Building Heights

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min