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Walsh Seeks Tax Breaks For Fenway Project

This article is more than 5 years old.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh proposed $4.6 million in tax breaks to spark construction of a $550 million retail and residential development that would straddle the Massachusetts Turnpike near Fenway Park.

A Boston Redevelopment Authority board vote on the financing is scheduled for Thursday.

The project known as Fenway Center has languished for years due to legal and permitting challenges, and the developer has struggled to generate enough funding to move forward.

"This is a positive partnership that's going to help to spur growth," Walsh told The Boston Globe. "The city is open for business, and we're going to work with developers on good solid projects that can be supported by the community."

Fenway Center would have residential and commercial space in five buildings between Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street. It would include 420 apartments, space for stores, restaurants and offices, and nearly 1,000 parking spaces. Plans also call for a farmers market and a bike-sharing station.

The project is particularly costly and complex because it requires construction of a $35 million deck over the Mass Pike to support its main parking garage and a 27-story tower with offices, apartments and stores.

"We are going to cover up the highway and build a new neighborhood out of thin air," said John Rosenthal, president of developer Meredith Management Corp.

The tax relief would be structured to help fund construction of the project's retail spaces, not its apartments, Rosenthal and city officials said. The deal would reduce the project's taxes over a six-year period during its construction and early years of operation. After its completion, Fenway Center is expected to generate about $5 million a year in taxes.

Currently, the property generates about $152,000 a year.

The tax deal needs approval from the City Council and state economic officials, in addition to the redevelopment authority board.

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