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Developer to submit one-site plan for Cleveland Circle

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  June 23, 2011 03:26 PM

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Development plans for an old, vacant movie theater site in Cleveland Circle will be reassessed and a new, one-site plan submitted within the next two months, officials said Thursday.

The site’s developers, the Boston Development Group, had originally planned for a $45-million, two-site, two-phase project that included a 180-room hotel along with office, retail, restaurant and parking space.

The first-phase would have been built on the cinema site, which straddles the Boston-Brookline border. The second, smaller phase would have been constructed on an adjacent plot – entirely in Boston – that currently houses an Applebee’s restaurant. The second phase would not have broken ground until after the food chain’s lease expired in 2014.

But the deal to acquire the Applebee’s site fell through late last month.

This week, developers withdrew their project notification form submitted to Boston’s Redevelopment Authority and hope to submit new project plans to the city agency within the next 60 days, said the development company’s project manager John Meunier.

“We want to take some time to re-review the plan,” he said Thursday. “We want to see how we can do it in a way that is as responsive as we can be to the feedback we’ve received through the community process.”

He added that, so far, “The overwhelming feedback from everyone was that they felt the removal of site two from the plans was so significant that we should withdraw and resubmit [a new PNF], which is what we’re doing.”

He said what changes the former plans may undergo have not yet been determined

“I think it’s a great site, and we hope we can move forward in reasonable timeframe with a plan that will benefit the community,” Meunier said.

BDG had signed a purchase and sale agreement to buy the Applebee’s restaurant site at 381 Chestnut Hill Ave. in Brighton. But, that contingent agreement was canceled in late May primarily because developers felt they would not be able to get community approval before the deal’s scheduled closing.

The development company’s CEO and Chairman David Zussman also indicated earlier this month that price negotiations with the site’s owners had stalled.

He said then that site is off the table for development by BDG, “unless they come back to us, but we have no indication that they will.”

Zussman was not immediately available to comment Thursday, but Meunier said nothing new has transpired between BDG and the Applebee’s site owners concerning that property.

BDG has a purchase and sale agreement signed for the former Circle Cinema site. That purchase is expected to be completed as planned, development officials said.

A separate community process about the development proposal has been going on in Brookline for several months. To read more on that, click here and here.

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To see a copy of the developer's PNF withdrawal letter, click here.
To see a copy of the BRA's response to that letter, click here.

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To see comments submitted to the BRA from:
An impact advisory group, click here.
City, state and town officials, click here..
Boston residents, click here.
Brookline and Newton residents, click here.

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E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.

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