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Baker, Walsh Announce Joint Redevelopment Effort In Boston

The area in red, on Kneeland Street in Boston, is slated for redevelopment, as a result of the city-state partnership. (Courtesy of the governor's office)
The area in red, on Kneeland Street in Boston, is slated for redevelopment, as a result of the city-state partnership. (Courtesy of the governor's office)
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Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a partnership Tuesday seeking to redevelop state-owned property.

The effort will explore redevelopment of a 5.5 acre parcel at Boston's 185 Kneeland St., which is bordered by Chinatown and South Station. Currently the location has the MassDOT District 6 headquarters and a facility of the French transnational company Veolia.

The site offers up to 2 million square feet of redevelopment — paving a way potentially for new housing and business opportunities in the city.

"You're talking about potentially 2 million square feet of development space on this site," Baker told reporters during a morning press availability. "There are a lot of things you can do with 2 million square feet, some of which will include an affordable housing piece."

Appearing with Baker, Mayor Walsh said he sees the project as the beginning of big changes for Boston. He cited the many neighborhoods throughout the city where there are state-owned parcels not being used.

"This is much more than this piece of land," Walsh said. "This is actually more than downtown; it’s what the state owns in the neighborhoods."

He added: "It’s taking state-owned property, taking land that right now is not being used for anything, not collecting tax revenue, not being developed on, and making that land available for economic development opportunities -- housing ... infrastructure, buildings, office space — all of the above, to really kind of energize and make use of the land."

statement from Baker's office said the state and the city have so far developed state-owned land that over the last five years has added 1,300 units of housing and nearly 500,000 square feet of commercial space.

The MassDOT District 6 headquarters will be relocated or replaced, and a scaled-down version of the Veolia facility will be included in the redevelopment, the governor's office said in the statement.

The first public input session on the parcel is set for March 2.

With reporting by WBUR's Delores Handy

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