The changing landscape of Lower Allston could see another major transformation if a proposal to build a 600,000-square-foot-plus biotech and residential development moves forward.
Dubbed “NEXUS at The Allston Innovation Corridor,” the project sitting before the city’s Planning and Development Agency is among the latest vying to take hold on Western Avenue — just outside where Harvard University’s research and business innovation complex is taking shape.
Replacing industrial parcels, NEXUS would include an expansive 539,400 square feet of office and research space, 40 residential units, and more than 20,000 square feet of restaurants and shops.
The plans come amid growing academic and scientific interest in the area, which is already being scouted as a potential cousin to Cambridge’s Kendall Square.
According to filings, the DiStefano family, who operated Stadium Auto Body at 305 Western Ave. for more than 50 years, owns the Allston properties.
“As the uses along Western Avenue have transitioned from intensive, industrial uses, the family recognized that the current uses are outdated and began a process to determine how the family wanted to redevelop the project site,” the plans say.
The DiStefanos have teamed up with King Street Properties and Mugar Enterprises Inc. to put together the NEXUS proposal, which looks to revitalize four-plus acres across two parcels, according to the plans.
Between 250 and 280 Western Ave., developers would create “Artists’ Way” — open space with greenery, outdoor seating, and art installations from the community.
“The neighborhood of Allston is named for Washington Allston, a 19th-century painter and poet of the Romantic Landscape era,” the plans say. “That focus on art in Allston is alive today and apparent to all who visit. The science community has a strong appreciation and synergy with the arts, as discovery is at the heart of success in both professions.”
Proponents are seeking to transform 250 Western Ave. into a seven-story research laboratory and office buildingon the corner of Riverdale Street, and, at 280 Western Ave., a six story building will house residential units and additional storefronts, according to filings.
At the Everett Street corner, 305 Western Ave. would include a six-story laboratory and office building, with restaurants and shops on the ground floor, the proposal says.
“Along Western Avenue, the ground floor is pulled back to allow for outdoor seating that will activate the streetscape and to create a larger pedestrian space at the Western Avenue and Everett Street intersection,” the file says.
Parking would include 884 total spaces across the whole project, according to developers. Visitors would also find nearly 2,000 square feet of civic space, as well as Westford Park, a 5,000-square-foot area off Westford Street, the plan indicates.
Developers say the complex would generate roughly $10 million in new property taxes for the city and would employ about 2,000 workers during construction. Crews would break ground soon after the the project gets the green light from the city, with the work lasting about two years.
If approved, the project would add to a rapidly changing swath of the city that’s in demand.
Further west of the NEXUS site, for example, work is underway on the Western Avenue Residence — a 132-rental unit development at the intersection of Western Avenue and Leo M. Birmingham Parkway, along the Watertown line.
And at Continuum, a luxury apartment building on the corner of North Harvard Street, a studio apartment starts at $2,269 a month, according to its website.
“The thing that’s kind of been interesting is the rents have really increased a lot in that corridor in a more rapid rate than the traditional …. Allston-Brighton area along Commonwealth Avenue,” Shaun Ulloa, owner of Foundation Real Estate Services, said in an interview.
While rentals in some of the newer developments could cost a couple of thousand dollars a month, the older housing stock has also experienced a boost, according to Ulloa, who said a two-bedroom apartment in a multifamily home could go for roughly $2,300 a month.
And with the introduction of a commuter rail station at the Boston Landing complex in Brighton, the area has become all the more attractive to young professionals looking for a convenient commute downtown, said Ulloa, who lives in the neighborhood.
“Generally speaking, the quality of life in the neighborhood is pretty good,” he said. “You have a lot of people who have lived in the area and intend to stay.”
Matt Gorman, principal broker of Edge Realty Advisors, said newcomers are also drawn to the sprouting “maker culture” of small start-ups and incubators.
He used to see local bands looking to rent big houses with space to perform, he told Boston.com.
“People request it by name now,” Gorman said, adding that, for some, the area is now known by the nickname “L.A.”
“It used to be Lower Allston — I used to have to tell people what it was … now you don’t have to at all.”
Both Gorman and Ulloa see the demand growing, especially as other sections of Allston-Brighton transform.
And Gorman envisions both the Western Avenue and Boston Landing areas expanding.
“I think, overall, the area there is going to be on the upswing, I would say, between the next five and ten years,” he said.