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North Station area projects move ahead

By Casey Ross
Globe Staff / February 18, 2012
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A Newton developer is moving forward with construction of a 14-story hotel and apartment complex across from the TD Garden, one of several projects that could help reinvent the North Station area in coming years.

The Boston Development Group on Thursday night won city approval to build The Merano, which will include a 210-room Courtyard Marriott hotel, 231 apartments, restaurants, and retail shops. Construction of the $165 million project is planned to start in the fall.

“We’re thrilled with the design and expect that the project will bring vibrance to the neighborhood day and night,’’ said David Zussman, chief executive of the Boston Development Group.

The project is one of several planned on state-owned property at the northern edge of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The land once was occupied by the elevated central artery. Simpson Housing began construction last summer on the Victor, a 286-unit apartment project with ground-floor restaurants along Causeway Street. Trinity Financial Inc. is planning a large development nearby, and Equity Residential and Delaware North Cos. are eyeing residential projects in the neighborhood.

The Merano, which will be near the Zakim Bridge, has been revised from a prior proposal to feature a range of apartments, with about 60 percent to be one-bedroom units, 25 percent two bedrooms, and 15 percent studios. An executive with Boston Development Group said the one bedrooms will rent for between $2,600 and $2,800 per month. Thirty of the units will be designated affordable.

Designed by CBT Architects Inc., the complex will be contained in a pair of adjoined 14-story buildings. Many of the apartments will have balconies, and residents will have access to a pool and fitness center to be built in the Courtyard Marriott. The second and third levels of the complex will contain 184 parking spaces.

The project is expected to create about 550 jobs during construction and about 200 permanent jobs in the hotel and restaurants.

In addition to The Merano, the Boston Redevelopment Authority also approved construction of 60 apartments in three adjoining buildings on Melcher Street in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood. The project will include 27 so-called innovation housing units, which are designed to be smaller and more affordable for renters in the neighborhood.

The developers plan to build the project in phases, starting with the renovation of 63 Melcher St. and then moving to 49 and 51 Melcher St.; the latter two buildings will include retail shops and/or entertainment on the lower levels. Parking for residents of the complex will be available in the adjacent Necco Street Garage.

The development team includes Archon Group, Goldman Properties, Melcher Street Holdings LLC, and Gerding Edlen Development. The complex is being designed by the architecture firm Bargmann, Hendrie & Archetype.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.

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