|By Chris Cassidy, Boston
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 17, 2013--A massive twin tower complex of hotel rooms, condos, offices and shops would be the new gateway to the TD Garden under a plan that developers -- linked to the Bruins -- hope will turn the Causeway Street area into a trendy year-round hangout.
"This is really a hot part of the city," Delaware North Companies and Boston Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs told the Herald yesterday. "We expect this to transform the area, both for West Enders and North Enders."
Two towers would go up on a 2.8-acre site beside the Garden -- currently a parking area -- featuring 500 residential units, 200 hotel rooms, 800 underground parking spaces, 300,000 square feet of retail on multiple floors, and 600,000 square feet of office space, according to plans filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday.
"It complements what's going on in that community," James Brett of The New England Council said of the mega-proposal. "I think it's going to be an exciting area."
Brett warned some in the neighborhood are likely to object to the project's size, especially the 500 residences, but will embrace a possible much-needed supermarket.
"This is the quintessential mixed-use development," Robert O'Brien of the Downtown North Association said. "I would say there have been no unpleasant surprises in the announcement."
It's unclear how high the towers would stretch, but all together the project is planned to include 1.7 million square feet of space, with a new entrance to the TD Garden and North Station.
The project won't include a Target -- once a rumored tenant -- but Jacobs suggested the chances are high for a new supermarket.
"There has been some talk of a supermarket," Jacobs said. "I can't confirm it, but it seems like a good idea to have one."
He declined to reveal the cost of the project, saying only that "it will all be privately financed, and it will be expensive."
Over the last decade, the area has emerged from the shadows of the now-demolished Central Artery and the elevated Green Line. Converse will soon move its corporate headquarters to nearby Lovejoy Wharf. And AvalonBay's 503-unit Nashua Street Residences will soon tower over the TD Garden.
The twin tower plans call for groundbreaking to begin in early 2014. Jacobs told the Herald that timetable may be ambitious but said he's hopeful part of the development would open in 2016.
"This has dramatically changed in a very short period of time," Jacobs said. "I see this as another step in the evolution."
The project is now in the hands of the BRA, which will form an advisory group to look at the impact to the neighborhood.
"We're excited about what it would do on Causeway Street, from a pedestrian perspective and new entrance to the MBTA stop," BRA spokeswoman Susan Elsbree said. "This will be a real game-changer for the North Station area."
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