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Parcel 13 Hynes Station Developer, January 6, 2014MassDOT and the MBTA have approved a real estate deal that will leverage more than $30 million in private development funding for the delivery of a state-of-the-art, fully accessible Hynes Convention Center Station on the Green Line in Boston’s Back Bay.

The MassDOT Board of Directors voted on October 21, and the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) of the MBTA voted Monday to approve a deal with The Peebles Corporation for the development of Air Rights Parcel 13 at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street. The air rights development will be integrated with accessibility and reliability improvements to the adjacent Hynes Convention Center Station to be carried out by Peebles.

“On behalf of the Baker-Polito Administration, we in the leadership of MassDOT and the MBTA are excited to move this project forward,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “This is exactly the kind of creative and innovative partnering with the private sector we should be pursuing to help fund MBTA improvements in a time of constrained budgets.”

Parcel 13 comprises approximately 54,500 square feet of air rights over the Massachusetts Turnpike and portions of the MBTA Green Line tunnel across the street from the Hynes Convention Center. Hynes Station is the busiest Green Line station not currently accessible to people with disabilities. An average of 8,950 customers each weekday enters Hynes Station, which is also an important transfer point for the busy MBTA Route 1 bus.

The project will integrate improvements to Hynes Station with the development of the adjacent air rights, leading to a more cost-effective and efficient design and construction process. The station improvements will include the construction of redundant elevators and stairs to both the inbound and outbound sides of Hynes Station, making it fully accessible. The station design also will relocate the Massachusetts Avenue entrance to the station within the Parcel 13 Air Rights building, create a new Boylston Street entrance to the station, and replace aging electrical equipment.

The Peebles Corporation will pay more than $30.5 million in rent to develop the Parcel 13 air rights, which will be used to fund the station improvements. In addition, Peebles will provide space within the air rights building for the new MBTA station entrances and for relocating Green Line electrical equipment, as well project and construction management services for the station – all at no cost to the MBTA.

Preliminary cost estimates for the station work are $45.7 million. MassDOT is expected to fund station costs above the rent to be paid by the developer. Both the MassDOT Board and the FMCB will determine whether to proceed with the station improvements after station design is complete and final cost estimates are complete and again when station construction bids are received.

“By harnessing the developer’s expertise and the value created by the air rights development, this project gives us the opportunity to address station accessibility and reliability concerns at a critical location sooner than we would be able to otherwise,” said MBTA General manager Frank DePaola.

The Peebles Corporation was selected as the developer last January over two other developers after a public RFP process. To ensure integration of the air rights and station designs, the Peebles team includes HDR, Inc. as the designer for the station improvements.

Peebles’ proposed project “The Viola” will consist of 390,000 total gross square feet, including: 170 residential units; a 60-room lifestyle hotel; 26,000 square feet of retail space; on-site parking spaces; and two public plazas. Peebles is working with Handel Architects of New York and Boston-based urban design think-tank, Utile Inc., to design the building. The development will be subject to all state and local permitting, as well as city zoning.

“The Peebles Corporation would like to thank the state, MassDOT/MBTA, the city, and the community for assisting us in reaching this critical milestone,” said Don Peebles, Chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation. “We are honored to have the opportunity to develop and deliver this transformative project to the historic and inspiring Back Bay neighborhood in collaboration with these forward-thinking teams.”

Tawan Davis, Peebles’ Chief Investment Officer, continued, “We are proud to partner with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on this unprecedented deal structure; MassDOT and the MBTA worked efficiently and nimbly to structure the terms of the development agreement that incentivizes private investment in public infrastructure. Under our shared and innovative vision, The Viola will become a landmark project, uniting the Back Bay and Fenway communities in many ways beyond transportation.”

Permitting and design are expected to begin in 2016, with construction of improvements to Hynes Station estimated to begin by 2019.

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