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BRA approves plans for Christian Science Plaza development

Posted by Sara Brown  August 17, 2011 11:50 AM

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(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/file)


The revitalization and development plans for the Christian Science Plaza include three new buildings and a 2,000 square-foot pavilion.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority board voted Tuesday to approve a plan to rezone the Christian Science Church plaza, making way for the church's plans to revitalize its world headquarters with three new buildings, upgrades, and a new pavilion.

The plans will still have to be approved at a public hearing before the Boston Zoning Commission, and each component of the church's plans will have be approved individually, according to a city official.

The revitalization and development plans include three new buildings totaling 950,000 square feet that will be sold or released, a 2,000 square-foot pavilion, upgrades to the plaza, and a new open space near St. Germain Street.

The Christian Science Plaza contains the First Church of Christ, Scientist that was built in 1894, as well as the church's headquarters, a famous 686-foot-long reflecting pool and the Christian Science Publishing Society. In May, the city designated the plaza a historic landmark.

Susan Elsbree, spokeswoman for the BRA, said the board's vote was a "big milestone" for the project, and the plans will next be presented at a Sept. 14 public hearing before the Boston Zoning Commission.

Elsbree said that though the board approved zoning for the project concept, the individual components of the project would have to have their own separate reviews and community process to be approved.

According to the church, the project will enhance open space, improve environmental sustainability, and find opportunities for underutilized real estate.

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