The developers who own the rights to several acres of what have become urban wilds on Tremont Street across from the Boston Police headquarters say they're so close to closing the financing they need for a $473-million multi-use complex that they've scheduled groundbreaking for April.
The project, first proposed in 2011, now calls for a series of buildings on the 7.25-acre parcel that would feature a mall with a Burlington Coat Factory, a BJ's, a cineplex and an indoor rock-climbing facility; 727 residential units; office space and a museum - as well as 1,371 parking spaces.
Roughly 20% of the residential units would be marketed as affordable, to people making between 60% and 100% of the Boston area median income; the city normally requires only 13% affordable units. Most of them would be in two towers; with nine townhouses built along Whittier Street.
In a BPDA presentation yesterday, Elma Lewis Partners, the original developer on the project, and Feldco Development, said they expect to close in March on the final $28 million of financing they need to get started.
March is also when the developers hope to sign a lease for one of the mall's larger tenants and go before the Boston Zoning Commission to win approval of the "planned development area" they've worked out with the BPDA, which basically would strike the lot's current zoning in favor of the plans drawn up by the developers.
The developers will spend roughly $13 million for a museum featuring the work of Afro-American artists.
The city awarded the land - left over from the I-95 extension halted in the 1970s - to the local Elma Lewis Partners during the Menino administration. It filed a formal letter of intent in 2011 but ran into a seemingly never ending series of delays, so many that at one point the city threatened to just take the land rights away.