Developers Looking to Build Residential Over Commercial

Two of the city's biggest developers recently changed proposals to reduce office space in favor of more residential space.

Boston developers are hot for housing and cool on office space lately—and that could be a good thing for the city.

The Abbey Group recently announced a sharp change to its $150 million mixed-use project in Fenway. The original plans, approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in November, called for about 100,000 square feet of office space. But the developer decided to scrap all of it to increase the building’s residential count from 210 apartments to 322 units of apartments and condominiums.

That announcement follows a similar change in plans from Millennium Partners. The team behind the proposed tower at the former Filene’s site in Downtown Crossing submitted revised plans this summer that slashed proposed office space from 469,000 square feet to no more than 218,000 square feet in favor or nearly quadrupling the building’s residential units from 166 to 600.

Here in the South End, several residential projects are currently under construction, including a . and a large scale .

Why might that be a good thing?

Audrey Epstein-Reny, director of marketing for The Abbey Group, confirmed that the decision to change the Fenway project was based on local factors.

“We spent the last year specifically looking at that neighborhood and determined there was a greater demand for housing than additional office space,” Epstein-Reny said.

She added that Boston continues to be a strong real estate market.

“We have projects on properties throughout the city,” she said, “and Boston continues to be a strong city for real estate development.”


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