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Developer pitches vision for Fenway

Mixed-use project would create vital district, he says

Samuels & Associates wants to build two buildings in the Fenway with apartments and businesses. Samuels & Associates wants to build two buildings in the Fenway with apartments and businesses. (Samuels & Associates)
By Bonnie Kavoussi
Globe Correspondent / August 5, 2010

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A Boston developer is planning to build apartments, underground parking, and retail and office space in the Fenway — the latest in a string of proposals to revitalize the neighborhood.

Samuels & Associates filed a letter of intent yesterday with the Boston Redevelopment Authority for its plans to build two mixed-use buildings in the Fenway. The buildings would built in the space of a parking lot and former Goodyear tire shop.

A building at 132 Brookline Ave. would house 170 high-end apartments and include retail space on the first floor. A street over, on the corner of Boylston and Van Ness streets, another building would hold 150 luxury apartments, 200,000 square feet of retail space, and 225,000 square feet of office space. The company also plans to build 500 parking spaces underground.

Chief executive Steven Samuels said the project is part of his company’s master plan to redevelop the Fenway neighborhood into a shopping district similar to Newbury and Boylston streets in the Back Bay.

Samuels has already established a foothold in the Fenway. The company owns about 11 buildings there, including the Fenway Triangle Trilogy, a residential-and-retail building it opened in 2006, and 1330 Boylston’s luxury apartments and restaurants, which opened in 2008.

“What will make the Fenway great is good, consistent, pedestrian-friendly retail that becomes unbroken in effect,’’ Samuels said.

Samuels & Associates is just the latest company interested in the development of the Fenway. City officials have said that retailer Target Corp. and natural-foods grocer Whole Foods Market Inc. are considering expanding in the Fenway. And CB2, a home furnishings chain by Crate & Barrel aimed at young adults, is also vying to locate in the Fenway, officials have said.

“This is further proof that developers are still bullish on Boston,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino said yesterday in a statement.

Yesterday’s letter of intent is the first step in the city’s review process, which will start when Samuels files a project notification form in the next several weeks. The review process typically takes several months; Samuels predicts that construction will start by the summer of 2011.

“We’re excited that the Samuels & Associates team wants to redevelop these parcels as it will further enliven the district with a mix of uses ensuring a thriving 24-hour neighborhood,’’ said John F. Palmieri, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, in a statement yesterday.

Bonnie Kavoussi can be reached at bkavoussi@globe.com.