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City Clears Path For MassDOT Move To Roxbury

City officials on Thursday night agreed to revise the designation of a parcel in Roxbury to pave the way for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to develop 1 million square feet of space for a new state transportation building, museum and retail space.

The board's action on Parcel P-3 in Roxbury is intended to enable the state to develop a new transportation building on a parcel that would also include the National Center for Afro-American Artists museum, as well as retail, entertainment and educational space.

According to the BRA, the parcel since 2007 has been tentatively designated to Elma Lewis Partners. The BRA reported Friday that Elma Lewis Partners merged with FeldCo Development Corp. to form P-3 Partners, the group developing the Tremont Crossing project.

The Legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick this fall transferred ownership of the State Transportation Building in Boston's theater district to MassDOT and the building's potential sale would spur changes in the building's usage while generating revenue for transportation.

MassDOT is expected to construct 800,000 square feet of office space, according to the BRA, and 21,000 square feet of space for the museum. The agency plans to lease an additional 126,000 square feet of floor space to P-3 Partners for retail and other uses, the BRA said.

Plans for the state Department of Public Health to move its downtown headquarters to Roxbury fizzled years ago and city officials are hoping the MassDOT move will fuel growth in that area of the city.

The BRA's board and the Economic Development Industrial Corporation on Thursday also approved projects that will create 178 units of housing in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester and Hyde Park, as well as a 97-room expansion of the Bayside DoubleTree Hotel in Dorchester. The hotel project has a value of $28 million.

The BRA also agreed to hire McKinsey & Company to independently evaluate its planning division under a $420,000 consulting contract. The review and recommendations are due "by the spring," the BRA said.

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