The Oxford Properties Group (‘Oxford’) proposal to replace an above grade garage with a new mixed-use commercial building at 125 Lincoln Street was approved by Boston Planning and Development Agency Board (BPDA) today. The proposed building offers 335,000 square feet of research and development space that includes up to 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The building provides dedicated space for a future banquet hall where Oxford will support a local operator at an affordable rent. Oxford is also transferring its entire interest in its nearby building, 79 Essex Street, to the Asian Community Development Corporation (‘ACDC’) to develop affordable housing and additional community retail space.
Oxford has worked closely with the City and community during the Article 80 process to create a development that delivers substantial public realm benefits; an active and inclusive ground floor; and a defined plan to advance the City’s housing affordability goals. The final design for 125 Lincoln reflects input from the neighborhood, BCDC and BPDA staff. It features important improvements to the ground floor and surrounding exterior areas; a decrease in size and shape of the building; and a refinement of materials that reflect the importance of this critical site. Oxford has also pledged to support MassBioEd’s Life Sciences Apprenticeship program through the development, which will afford area residents increased participation opportunities in the life sciences industry.
“Our proposal is a truly balanced reflection of the significant and valuable feedback we incorporated from community priorities and the need to design a project that attracts the best life sciences companies in the world,” said Mark McGowan, Vice President, Head of Development, Boston at Oxford Properties. “The project also meaningfully delivers on goals important to the City and Oxford: increasing access to affordable housing; improving connections between Chinatown and the Leather District; updating the streetscape; and expanding economic opportunity.
The project team anticipates that the 79 Essex Street site, which Oxford will transfer to the Asian Community Development Corporation, will create approximately 50 units of affordable housing. In addition, the project will contribute $2+ million in linkage funds to the Neighborhood Housing Trust.
“We are excited about the prospect of creating approximately 50 all-affordable housing opportunities in Chinatown as part of the 125 Lincoln Street proposal’s community benefits,” shared Angie Liou, Executive Director of Asian Community Development Corporation. “With the affordable housing commitment at 79 Essex, Oxford Properties showcases what can happen when property owners collaborate with neighborhoods to understand and achieve community priorities. We are all neighborhood stewards and are responsible for the wellbeing of the communities we serve.”
Located near South Station, 125 Lincoln Street is designed to the highest standards of environmental sustainability, with proposed LEEDv4 Gold certification, a 90% reduction in fossil fuel consumption (compared to baseline) and a resilient design. With 31,000 square feet of public realm improvements on site, the transit-oriented development creates both programmable gathering spaces and stronger connections between the Leather District and Chinatown. The project also supports improvements to the Essex Street Crossing, Leather District Park, Chin Park and Beach Street Plaza. Once fully occupied, 125 Lincoln is expected to draw an additional 1000 workers downtown.
“A key factor throughout this process has been a productive collaboration with ACDC and the Wu Administration to achieve shared goals,” said Chad Remis, Executive Vice President, North America at Oxford Properties. “We appreciate their efforts as well as the collaboration across the Mayor’s office, the office of Housing, and the BPDA. We are extremely proud to be part of delivering affordable housing in Chinatown.
“The flexibility to accommodate research and development uses, paired with an active ground floor and new investment in the public realm, will transform the previously underutilized 125 Lincoln site into a new hub, creating an attractive and welcomed addition to Downtown. The Boston area continues to be a world leader in life sciences innovation, research, and manufacturing and we are confident that this location will be an outstanding draw.”
Oxford has invested in the life sciences industry since 2017. It has built substantial expertise in the sector while deploying capital through a variety of equity and credit investments as well as cultivating a significant development pipeline. Since the start of 2021 alone, Oxford has invested over US$3 billion in global life sciences and has identified a further US$5 billion of follow-on development opportunities. Oxford’s life sciences business now operates across 10 leading North American life sciences markets and in key European markets through properties in Cambridge, London and Paris.